GROUP:

EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults


health & safety concerns:
chemicals found
on average indivi-
dual range
entire group
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) 50 29-64 69
Brain and nervous system 38 19-52 58
Birth defects and developmental delays 14 13-16 16
Reproduction and fertility 4 2-5 10
Chronic effects, general 1 1-2 2
Endocrine system 1 1-2 2
Respiratory system 1 1-2 2
Gastrointestinal (including liver) 1 1-1 1

Group members:

(9 People)

Andrea Martin
Bill Moyers
Davis Baltz
Lucy Waletsky
Michael Lerner
Sharyle Patton
Lexi Rome
Monique Harden
Charlotte Brody


Locations:

Sausalito, CA
NJ, USA
Berkeley, CA
Pleasantville, NY
Bolinas, CA
Mill Valley, CA
New Orleans, LA
Round Hill, VA


about this group:

Laboratory tests uncovered 171 pollutants in blood and urine from nine volunteers, including an average of 56 carcinogens in each person. A benchmark for the exploding science on the human "body burden," the pollution in people, this study raises deep concerns about a system of public health protections that doesn't ask chemical companies to safety test their products before they are sold.


picture of group

Group: EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults
Found 155-171 of 214 tested chemicals (9 participants)

The blood and urine of the "EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults" group contained 155-171 of 214 industrial compounds, pollutants and other chemicals tested, including chemicals linked to immune system toxicity, brain and nervous system toxicity, and birth defects and developmental delays.

Summary of chemicals found in EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults

chemical family level found in group health effects exposure routes
Alkylphenols33% found, not quantifiedEndocrine system Cosmetics, detergents, pesticides, paints, carpet and dry cleaning
Arsenic (inorganic only)11% high
Pressure-treated (outdoor) wood, contaminated drinking water
Cadmium33% high
Contaminated food and drinking water, cigarette smoke, contaminated factory air
Chlorinated dioxins & furans44% high
56% moderate
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies), Birth defects and developmental delays Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Lead56% high
44% moderate
Lead-based paint in older homes, household dust, vinyl products, tap water
Methylmercury67% high
22% moderate
Dietary sources, particularly seafood
Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs)11% high
44% low
Reproduction and fertility Contaminated food and drinking water
Organophosphate Pesticide metabolites (OPs)33% high
44% moderate
22% low
Brain and nervous system Contaminated food and drinking water
Phthalates100% found, not quantifiedEndocrine system, Birth defects and developmental delays Cosmetics, paint, soft plastic, food packaging, and other consumer products
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)22% high
78% moderate
Brain and nervous system, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Volatile and semivolatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs)100% found, not quantified Contaminated indoor and outdoor air

Test results by chemical family (see each chemical)

alkylphenols

1 of 1 found — see each chemical

Surfactants in cosmetics, paints, detergents. Toxic to wildlife. May harm hormone system.

found in 3 of 9 members of the group, but not quantified

 


Total Alkylphenols

chlorinated dioxins & furans

15 of 17 found — see each chemical

Pollutants from PVC production, industrial bleaching, and incineration. Cause cancer and may harm hormone system.

5pg/g lipids in blood serum1860


Total Chlorinated dioxins & furans

metals

4 of 5 found

Known human carcinogen in pressure-treated wood and food. Common tap water pollutant.

  • geometric mean: 1.4 ppb in urine
  • found in 1 of 9 people in the group
  • found in: Michael Lerner
21ppb in urine21


In batteries, pigments, coatings, plastic and cigarette smoke. Cadmium causes cancer and is linked to birth defects and kidney damage.

0.5ppb in urine0.7


Neurotoxic heavy metal linked to IQ deficits and behavioral problems. Found in dust from chipping lead paint in older homes, and in some tap water.

0.222ug/dL in whole blood4.7


Forms from mercury, a pollutant from coal-fired power plants and other sources. Methylmercury accumulates in seafood and harms brain development and function.

0.0735ug/L in whole blood25.9


organochlorine pesticides (ocs)

10 of 23 found — see each chemical

Includes DDT, chlordane, other pesticides. Largely banned in the U.S. Build up in the human body over time. Cause cancer and reproductive harm.

Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs) were measured in different units for some of the members of this group. Overall it was found in 9 of the 9 members tested in the group. The bars below are grouped by units:

0.615ng/g lipids in blood serum2830


Total Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs)

organophosphate pesticide metabolites (ops)

7 of 9 found — see each chemical

Breakdown products from pesticides, including Dursban, formerly used in homes and currently used on produce. Can damage brain development.

4ppb in urine70.4


Total Organophosphate Pesticide metabolites (OPs)

phthalates

6 of 6 found — see each chemical

In cosmetics, paint, and plastics. Linked to sperm damage and birth defects of male reproductive system.

found in 9 of 9 members of the group, but not quantified

 


Total Phthalates

polychlorinated biphenyls (pcbs)

36-52 of 77 found — see each chemical

Banned industrial insulators and lubricants. Cause cancer and nervous system problems.

2.95ng/g lipids in blood serum600


Total Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

volatile and semivolatile organic compounds (vocs and svocs)

76 of 76 found — see each chemical

Used in wide range of household, craft, and industrial products. Common tap water and air pollutants. Includes neurotoxins and carcinogens.

found in 9 of 9 members of the group, but not quantified

 


Total Volatile and semivolatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs)

References/Notes

[1] CDC (2005). National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/. (Methylmercury results have been compared to total mercury in CDC biomonitoring.)