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Pollution in Minority Newborns

Pollution in Minority Newborns

232 toxic chemicals in 10 minority babies.
Monday, November 23, 2009

Laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group have, for the first time, detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen, in umbilical cord blood of American infants.

9 out of 10 Tested Had BPA

Nine of 10 randomly selected samples of cord blood tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical produced by the millions of tons annually to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity.

Up to 232 Chemicals Found in Newborns

In all, the tests found as many as 232 chemicals in the 10 newborns, all of minority descent. While the sample is too small to project national trends, the minority cord blood study, commissioned by EWG in conjunction with Rachel’s Network, has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb, to complex mixtures of dangerous substances that may have lifelong consequences.

Stronger Measures Needed to Protect Pregnant Women

Scientists and health experts are pressing for stronger measures to protect pregnant women and infants from BPA and other environmental pollutants that disrupt the endocrine system. In June 2009, the Endocrine Society, comprised of 14,000 hormone researchers and medical specialists in more than 100 countries, warned that “even infinitesimally low levels of exposure [to endocrine-disrupting chemicals] –indeed, any level of exposure at all– may cause endocrine or reproductive abnormalities, particularly if exposure occurs during a critical developmental window. Surprisingly, low doses may even exert more potent effects than higher doses.”

And in November 2009, the American Medical Association Board of Delegates approved a resolution that called on the federal government to minimize the public’s exposure to BPA and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The measure was advanced by the Endocrine Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Environmental Working Group believes that any chemical found in cord blood should be given highest priority for tough regulatory action to protect public health.

Update:

Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, mentioned EWG Minority Cord Blood report at a Dec. 2, 2009, hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called to discuss shortcomings of the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act.