EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults

health & safety concerns:
chemicals found
on average indivi-
dual range
entire group
Brain and nervous system 185 172-196 212
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) 167 158-175 188
Reproduction and fertility 57 51-67 72
Gastrointestinal (including liver) 46 38-55 62
Birth defects and developmental delays 14 13-15 15
Cancer 2 2-2 2
Endocrine system 1 1-1 1
Kidney and renal system 1 1-1 1

Group members:

(3 People)

Anonymous Adult 1
Kathy Fowler
U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter


Rockville, MD
Upstate New York, NY

about this group:

Comprehensive body burden testing of a select group of women gives powerful personal perspectives on the human body burden and what it means for our health, from Congress to the newsroom.

picture of group

Group: EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults
Found 253-329 of 413 tested chemicals (3 participants)

The blood and urine of the "EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults" group contained 253-329 of 413 industrial compounds, pollutants and other chemicals tested, including chemicals linked to brain and nervous system toxicity, immune system toxicity, and reproductive toxicity and fertility problems.

Summary of chemicals found in EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults

chemical family level found in group health effects exposure routes
Brominated dioxins & furans67% moderate
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Chlorinated dioxins & furans67% high
33% moderate
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies), Birth defects and developmental delays Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Methylmercury100% moderate
Dietary sources, particularly seafood
Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs)100% moderate
Reproduction and fertility Contaminated food and drinking water
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)67% high
33% moderate
Cancer, Birth defects and developmental delays, Endocrine system Stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, carpets, pans
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)33% moderate
67% low
Reproduction and fertility Air polluted by vehicles or factories, burned and fatty food
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)67% moderate
33% low
Reproduction and fertility, Brain and nervous system Foam furniture, carpet padding, computers, televisions, contaminated house dust, food
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)33% high
67% moderate
Brain and nervous system, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs)67% high
33% moderate
Gastrointestinal (including liver) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish

Test results by chemical family (see each chemical)

brominated dioxins & furans

3 of 12 found — see each chemical

Contaminants in flame retardants, pollutants from plastics. May harm hormone system.

7.72pg/g lipids in blood serum1440

Total Brominated dioxins & furans

chlorinated dioxins & furans

13 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


1 of 1 found

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)

23 of 28 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.

0.615ng/g lipids in blood serum2830

Total Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs)

perfluorochemicals (pfcs)

8 of 12 found — see each chemical

Includes Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster. Linked to cancer and birth defects.

0.736ng/g in whole blood27.8

Total Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)

polyaromatic hydrocarbons (pahs)

8 of 18 found — see each chemical

Pollutants from burning gasoline and garbage. Linked to cancer. Accumulate in food chain.

130ng/g lipids in blood serum384

Total Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

polybrominated diphenyl ethers (pbdes)

34-40 of 46 found — see each chemical

Fire retardants in furniture foam, computers, and televisions. Accumulate in human tissues. May harm brain development.

1.11ng/g lipids in blood serum314

Total Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

polychlorinated biphenyls (pcbs)

121-171 of 209 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)

polychlorinated naphthalenes (pcns)

42-62 of 70 found — see each chemical

Wood preservatives, varnishes, machine lubricating oils, waste incineration. Cause liver and kidney damage.

0.0743ng/g lipids in blood serum3.43

Total Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs)


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