Pollution in Minority Newborns

health & safety concerns:
chemicals found
on average indivi-
dual range
entire group
Brain and nervous system 121 83-156 175
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) 109 72-135 167
Reproduction and fertility 19 13-29 30
Gastrointestinal (including liver) 8 3-15 25
Birth defects and developmental delays 8 4-18 18
Endocrine system 2 1-3 3
Cancer 2 2-2 2
Hematologic (blood) system 2 1-2 2

Group members:

(10 People)

Cord Blood Sample 11
Cord Blood Sample 12
Cord Blood Sample 13
Cord Blood Sample 14
Cord Blood Sample 15
Cord Blood Sample 16
Cord Blood Sample 17
Cord Blood Sample 18
Cord Blood Sample 19
Cord Blood Sample 20


picture of group

Group: Pollution in Minority Newborns
Found 176-232 of 383 tested chemicals (10 participants)

The blood of the "Pollution in Minority Newborns" group contained 176-232 of 383 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 Pollution in Minority Newborns

chemical family level found in group health effects exposure routes
Nitro- and polycylic- musks30% high
40% moderate
Endocrine system Cosmetics, perfumes, cleaning agents, detergents, soaps
Perchlorate30% high
50% moderate
10% low
Hematologic (blood) system, Birth defects and developmental delays Contaminated food and drinking water
Mercury30% high
50% moderate
20% low
Brain and nervous system Seafood, flu shots/vaccines, dental fillings
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)10% high
40% moderate
50% low
Birth defects and developmental delays, Cancer, Endocrine system Stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, carpets, pans
Bisphenol A60% high
30% moderate
Polycarbonate plastics, food can linings, dental sealants
Brominated Fire Retardant30% high
Brominated dioxins & furans40% moderate
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Chlorinated dioxins & furans10% high
90% moderate
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies), Birth defects and developmental delays Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)100% low
Reproduction and fertility, Brain and nervous system Foam furniture, carpet padding, computers, televisions, contaminated house dust, food
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)100% moderate
Brain and nervous system, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs)40% high
30% moderate
30% low
Gastrointestinal (including liver) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Methylmercury20% high
50% moderate
30% low
Dietary sources, particularly seafood
Lead100% low
Lead-based paint in older homes, household dust, vinyl products, tap water

Test results by chemical family (see each chemical)

nitro- and polycylic- musks

2 of 10 found — see each chemical

Fragrance ingredients. Build up in human tissues. May harm hormone system.

0.15ng/g in whole blood2.74

Total Nitro- and polycylic- musks


1 of 1 found

Explosive component of solid rocket and missile fuel. Widespread contaminant of food, drinking water, and people. Disrupts thyroid hormones, particularly in women with lower iodide intake; may harm brain development.

0.17ug/L in whole blood0.6


3 of 3 found

Mercury is used in dental fillings and to preserve vaccines; it is also a common pollutant in seafood. Mercury harms brain development and function.

7.0E-5ug/L in whole blood12

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

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

perfluorochemicals (pfcs)

6 of 13 found — see each chemical

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

0.736ng/g in whole blood27.8

Total Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)

bisphenol a & badge

1 of 1 found

Detected in polycarbonate plastic, dental sealants, and resins that line metal cans. Linked to hormone disruption, birth defects, cancer with effects at very low doses.

0.445ng/mL in blood serum8.61

brominated fire retardant

1 of 1 found — see each chemical

Brominated Fire Retardant

2780ng/g lipids in blood serum3210

Total Brominated Fire Retardant

brominated dioxins & furans

6 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

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

polybrominated diphenyl ethers (pbdes)

26-29 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)

97-144 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)

17-24 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.)