about this participant:

Monique Harden, a lawyer from New Orleans, LA, participated in the 2003 biomonitoring investigation entitled "EWG/Commonweal Study #1, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults." She gave blood and urine for the study at age 34.

Monique is an attorney who specializes in environmental justice concerns in New Orleans, the city where she was raised. She organizes communities who live on the fenceline with polluting industries, using both litigation and advocacy to fight for both economic and environmental justice. Among the victories she can claim is a precedent-setting decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to deny a Clean Air Act permit to a company proposing a new facility in a neighborhood that was 80 percent African American and already surrounded by 12 industrial facilities responsible for 17 million pounds of air pollutants.

Related links:

New Orleans, LA

Participant's groups:

Women of Childbearing Age, Female, Adult


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

health & safety concerns:
chemicals found in this person
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies)29
Brain and nervous system19
Birth defects and developmental delays14
Reproduction and fertility4
Gastrointestinal (including liver)1
Endocrine system1
Chronic effects, general1

picture of Monique Harden

Participant: Monique Harden
Found 71.5-76 of 214 tested chemicals

Monique Harden's blood and urine contained 71.5-76 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 Monique Harden

chemical family level found health effects exposure routes
Volatile and semivolatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs)found, not quantified Contaminated indoor and outdoor air
Phthalatesfound, not quantifiedEndocrine system Cosmetics, paint, soft plastic, food packaging, and other consumer products
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)moderateBrain and nervous system, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies) Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs)highReproduction and fertility Contaminated food and drinking water
Chlorinated dioxins & furansmoderateImmune system (including sensitization and allergies), Birth defects and developmental delays Dietary sources, fatty meat, dairy and fish
Organophosphate Pesticide metabolites (OPs)highBrain and nervous system Contaminated food and drinking water
Cadmiumhigh Contaminated food and drinking water, cigarette smoke, contaminated factory air
Leadhigh Lead-based paint in older homes, household dust, vinyl products, tap water

Test results by chemical family (see each chemical)

volatile and semivolatile organic compounds (vocs and svocs)

33 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.

  • cumulative level found: found, but not quantified

found in 9 of 9 people, but not quantified


Total Volatile and semivolatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs)


3 of 6 found — see each chemical

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

  • cumulative level found: found, but not quantified

found in 9 of 9 people, but not quantified


Total Phthalates

polychlorinated biphenyls (pcbs)

10.5-15 of 77 found — see each chemical

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

  • cumulative level found: 34.2 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • Moderate vs 35 tested in EWG/Commonweal studies (58th %ile)
  • Moderate vs 4,821 tested in CDC biomonitoring [1] (52nd %ile) (comparison based on congeners tested by CDC)
2.95ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum600

Total Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

organochlorine pesticides (ocs)

4 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.

  • cumulative level found: 1.26 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • Low vs 27 tested in EWG/Commonweal studies (19th %ile)
  • Low vs 4,821 tested in CDC biomonitoring [1] (12th %ile) (comparison based on congeners tested by CDC)
0.615ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum2830

Total Organochlorine Pesticides (OCs)

chlorinated dioxins & furans

14 of 17 found — see each chemical

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

  • cumulative level found: 613 pg/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • High vs 34 tested in EWG/Commonweal studies (80th %ile)
  • Moderate vs 4,821 tested in CDC biomonitoring [1] (70th %ile) (comparison based on congeners tested by CDC)
5pg/g (lipid weight) in blood serum1860

Total Chlorinated dioxins & furans


2 of 5 found

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

  • level found: 0.7 ppb in urine
  • High vs 9 tested in EWG/Commonweal studies (99th %ile)
ppb 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.

  • level found: 2.94 ug/dL (wet weight) in whole blood
  • High vs 71 tested in EWG/Commonweal studies (79th %ile)
  • High vs 8,373 tested in CDC biomonitoring [1] (85th %ile) (comparison based on congeners tested by CDC)
0.222ug/dL (wet weight) in whole blood4.7

organophosphate pesticide metabolites (ops)

5 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.

  • cumulative level found: 52.9 ppb in urine
  • High vs 9 tested in EWG/Commonweal studies (78th %ile)
4ppb in urine70.4

Total Organophosphate Pesticide metabolites (OPs)

Chemicals not found in Monique Harden

138 chemicals

4-tert-Octylphenol, 2,3,7,8-TCDF (tetrafuran), 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDF (pentafuran), 1,2,3,4,7,8-HxCDD (hexadioxin), Chromium, Methylmercury, Arsenic (inorganic only), 4,4'-DDD, Aldrin, alpha-Endosulphan, beta-Endosulphan, alpha-Chlordane, Dieldrin, Endosulphan Sulphate, Endrin, Endrin Ketone, alpha-BHC, Heptachlor, Heptachlor Epoxide, Endrin aldehyde, Hexachlorobenzene, gamma-BHC (Lindane), delta-BHC, 4,4'-DDT, Methoxychlor, Mirex, Diethylphosphorodithidate (DEDTP), Dimethylphosphorodithidate (DMDTP), Diethylphosphorothidate (DEPT), Malathion Mono-Carboxylic Acid, Butyl benzyl phthalate, Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, Di-n-octyl phthalate, PCB-101, PCB-84, PCB-105, PCB-127, PCB-128, PCB-167, PCB-196, PCB-203, PCB-166, PCB-82, PCB-195, PCB-200, PCB-207, PCB-42, PCB-185, PCB-86, PCB-97, PCB-119, PCB-91, PCB-189, PCB-205, PCB-158, PCB-114, PCB-123, PCB-120, PCB-77, PCB-126, PCB-169, PCB-79, PCB-80, PCB-37, PCB-81, PCB-110, PCB-151, PCB-149, PCB-168, PCB-157, PCB-171, PCB-18, PCB-198, PCB-47, PCB-44, PCB-49, PCB-70, PCB-87, PCB-95, PCB-52, PCB-64, PCB-66, PCB-60, PCB-141, PCB-137, PCB-179, PCB-174, PCB-177, PCB-191, PCB-190, PCB-194, PCB-208, PCB-206, PCB-209, PCB-92, 11,14-Methyl Ester Eicosadienoic acid, Methyl ester 9,12-Hexadecadienoic acid, 9-Hexadecenoic acid, n-Tetradecanoic acid, Diisooctyl ester Diphosphoric acid, 1-Tetradecanol, 2-Decanol, 5-Methyl-2-heptanol, 7-methyl-7-Heptadecanol, tetradecanal, 2,4,4-Trimethylhexane, 3-ethyl-2-methylhexane, 2,4,6-trimethyl-Decane, 2,5,6-trimethyl-Decane, 3-bromo-Decane, 6-ethyl-2-methyl-Decane, Hexacosane, n-Docosane, 3-bromo-3-methyl Pentane, Tetratetracontane, 5-propyl-Tridecane, 1,E-11,Z-13-Hexadecatriene, 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2-Hexadecene, (Z)-3-Hexadecene, o-(phenylmethyl)-Hydroxylamine, (3-octylundecyl)-Benzene, 3-isopentyl Sydnone, 2-propenylidene-Cyclobutene, 1,5,5-trimethyl-6-(2-propenylidene)-Cyclohexene, 2-hydroxy-Cyclopentadecanone, 1-ethyl-1-methyl-Cyclopentane, Ethylcyclohexane, Didodecyl 3,3-thiodipropionate, 2-ethylhexyl glycidyl ether, O-methyloxime 3,5-dimethyl-2-Cyclohexen-1-one, dihydro-5-(1-methylethyl)-3(2H)-Furanone, 4,6-dimethyl-5-Hepten-2-one, alpha-Toluenesulfonyl chloride, Cetylpyridinium chloride monohydrate, Mono(2-ethylhexyl) adipate, Ethyl Benzene, meta-Xylene, ortho-Xylene


[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.)

See results for this participant's group