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Study: American Pesticide Levels Are High

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

A new study by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) found that a large percentage of people who had their blood and urine tested carried pesticides above levels considered safe by government health and environmental agencies.

This analysis is but one of an increasing number of "body burden" studies, as scientists refer to them, that are providing researchers with troubling insights into the health risks of everyday human exposures to toxic chemicals. Scientists have spent decades researching chemical contaminants in air, water and on land, and have now begun to turn their attention to an important pollution site they have by and large neglected until now: people.

In 2003, in an investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, 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.

These findings about environmental contaminants in people have prompted unusually swift and rigorous actions on the part of government officials and companies as well as ongoing questions as to how these chemicals got into our bodies in the first place. These actions include a State of California lawsuit to force grocery store chains to label mercury-contaminated seafood and the forcing of 3M Company to alter its original Scotchgard formula after it was found to have contaminated every American.

Related links:

EWG Files Legal Challenge to FDA Mercury Health Advisory
Study Finds Record High Levels of Toxic Fire Retardants in Breast Milk from American Mothers
Toxic Fire Retardants Are Building Up Rapidly in San Francisco Bay Fish: And People
PFCs: A Family of Chemicals That Contaminate the Planet