Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Study Details Americans' Chemical Exposure

Many Exposures Down, but Health Effects Uncertain

Secondhand Smoke

Researchers also recorded falling levels of cotinine, a blood marker indicating exposure to secondhand smoke.

Gerberding says the CDC found an "astonishing reduction" in the chemical, suggesting that laws limiting smoking in buildings are having a positive effect.

Compared with average levels in 1988-1991, cotinine levels measured in 1999-2002 have decreased 68% in children, 69% in teens, and nearly 75% in adults, according to a news release.

But the drops were largely limited to whites. Some populations remain at risk. The study shows that blacks have levels twice as high as whites and Mexican-Americans.

Researchers take the results to mean that blacks are either being exposed to more secondhand smoke or that they metabolize nicotine differently than do whites, she says.

They also find that while levels of cotinine are decreasing, levels in children were twice as high as adults.


The study also shows low but relatively widespread exposure to phthalates, a class of chemicals found in cosmetics, plastics, and many plastic-coated food packages. The chemicals are known to affect hormone-producing organs and can cause liver and testicular damage in lab animals.

They find that half of adolescents between 12 to 19 years old had phthalates measurable in their urine, though researchers said they still don't know what the health effects are. More research is needed.

The report states that there is very limited scientific information available on potential human health effects of phthalates.

"We have reason now to look further" at the possible health effects of Americans' exposure to the chemicals, Gerberding says.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration