EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters

health & safety concerns:
chemicals found
on average indivi-
dual range
entire group
Reproduction and fertility 20 5-32 39
Brain and nervous system 20 5-32 39
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) 5 4-6 6
Respiratory system 4 3-4 4
Endocrine system 2 1-3 3
Cancer 2 2-2 2
Birth defects and developmental delays 2 2-2 2
Chronic effects, general 2 2-2 2

Group members:

(22 People)

Participant #1
Participant #10
Fred Gellert
Adelaide Gomer
Ann Hunter-Welborn
Jesse Johnson
Anonymous Adult
Winsome McIntosh
Judi Shils
Participant #18
Lynde Uihlein
Participant #2
Participant #20
Jessica Welborn
Alicia Wittink
Irene Crowe
Martha Davis
Emily Sayrs
Participant #6
Anonymous Adult RN7
Anonymous Teen 22
Anonymous Adult RN9


Belvedere, CA
Ithaca, NY
Encinitas, CA
New York, NY
Washington, DC
Ross, CA
Milwaukee, WI
San Francisco, CA
Littleton, CO

about this group:

In generations from grandparents to children, tests revealed 56 common consumer product chemicals, including plastic softeners, flame retardants, and stain repellants. Four mother-daughter pairs and 14 other people from across the country learned of their common exposures to untested mixtures of chemicals.

picture of group

Group: EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters
Found 51-56 of 70 tested chemicals (22 participants)

The blood and urine of the "EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters" group contained 51-56 of 70 industrial compounds, pollutants and other chemicals tested, including chemicals linked to reproductive toxicity and fertility problems, brain and nervous system toxicity, and immune system toxicity.

Summary of chemicals found in EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters

chemical family level found in group health effects exposure routes
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)9% high
55% moderate
36% low
Reproduction and fertility, Brain and nervous system Foam furniture, carpet padding, computers, televisions, contaminated house dust, food
Bisphenol A32% high
Polycarbonate plastics, food can linings, dental sealants
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)27% high
50% moderate
23% low
Cancer, Birth defects and developmental delays, Endocrine system Stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, carpets, pans
Lead55% high
41% moderate
5% low
Lead-based paint in older homes, household dust, vinyl products, tap water
Methylmercury82% high
14% moderate
5% low
Dietary sources, particularly seafood
BADGE-4OH41% high
45% moderate
Endocrine system Food can linings, dental sealants
Phthalates27% high
64% moderate
9% low
Endocrine system Cosmetics, paint, soft plastic, food packaging, and other consumer products

Test results by chemical family (see each chemical)

polybrominated diphenyl ethers (pbdes)

33-38 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)

bisphenol a & badge

2 of 2 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

Metabolite of BADGE, used to make metal food can linings. Linked to hormone activity, skin and immune system toxicity and cancer.

3.02ng/mL in blood serum174

perfluorochemicals (pfcs)

7 of 13 found — see each chemical

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

2.63ng/mL in blood serum77.7

Total Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)


2 of 2 found

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


7 of 7 found — see each chemical

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

102ug/g creatinine in urine10800

Total Phthalates


[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.)