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Body Burden: The Pollution in People
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Source: EWG

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Click here for Body Burden report.

In a study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in collaboration with the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers, with a total of 167 chemicals found in the group. Like most of us, the people tested do not work with chemicals on the job and do not live near an industrial facility.

Scientists refer to this contamination as a personís body burden. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development. The dangers of exposure to these chemicals in combination has never been studied.

These results represent the most comprehensive assessment of chemical contamination in individuals ever performed. Even so, many chemicals were not included in the analysis that are known to contaminate virtually the entire U.S. population. Two examples are Scotchgard and the related family of perfluorinated chemicals, and a group of compounds known collectively as brominated flame retardants.

A more precise picture of human contamination with industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides is not possible because chemical companies are not required to tell EPA how their compounds are used or monitor where their products end up in the environment. Neither does U.S. law require chemical companies to conduct basic health and safety testing of their products either before or after they are commercialized. Eighty percent of all applications to produce a new chemical are approved by the U.S. EPA with no health and safety data. Eighty percent of these are approved in three weeks.

Only the chemical companies know whether their products are dangerous and whether they are likely to contaminate people. As a first step toward a public understanding of the extent of the problem, the chemical industry must submit to the EPA and make public on the web, all information on human exposure to commercial chemicals, any and all studies relating to potential health risks, and comprehensive information on products that contain their chemicals.

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Click here for Body Burden report.

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