J, R Wiles, K Thayer and S Gray. 2003. BodyBurden. The pollution
in people. A study by the
Environmental Working Group.
sampling of press coverage:
Francisco Chronicle op-ed
report provides an in-depth examination of the chemical body burdens
of 9 Americans: "the consequence of lifelong exposure to industrial
chemcials that are used in thousands of consumer products and linger
as contaminants in air, water, food and soil."
was measured for the presence of 210 chemicals, most of which did
not exist 75 years ago. All told, 167 were found in their blood
and urine, an average of 91 compounds each.
none of the subjects works with chemicals in their job. Indeed,
all lead healthy lives, although not all are healthy.
range of health problems linked by scientific research to the compounds
found in the subjects was breathtaking: cancer (76 compounds found),
neurological disorders (94), hormone disorders (86), birth defects
and abnormal development (79), reproductive problems (77) and immune
system (77). Many of the studies on which these links are based
have been done with animals. Some are from epidemiological work
with people. None have focused on the complex
chemical mixtures which are the way that people actually experience
actual testing was carried out by the Mount Sinai Medical Center
in collaboration with laboratories specializing in analytical chemistry.
report, available on line at www.ewg.org/bodyburden/
contains details of the testing and results, as well as considerable
on consumer products (and their manufacturers) that contain
the chemicals found, summaries of what is known about health
effects, an analysis of potential
impacts of low doses, and recommendations
for policy reform. It also provides an interactive survey that
allows visitors to estimate what their body burdens might be.