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Household Chemicals May Show Up in Blood

Study by Environmental Group Shows Toxic Chemicals End Up in Blood Samples

Toxic Chemicals Study continued...

Every woman tested positive for up to 60% of the 75 chemicals evaluated, the report found.

The women live far apart: in Green Bay, Wis.; New Orleans; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Oakland, Calif. But their toxic chemical load is similar, according to the Environmental Working Group scientists.

Each woman had at least one chemical at a high percentile --such as the 81st percentile for bisphenol A, meaning her level of chemicals was higher than all but 19% of Americans who have been tested.

Industry Response

Tiffany Harrington, a spokeswoman for the American Chemistry Council, would not comment on the study itself but did issue a statement that reads in part: "The American Chemistry Council supports science-based biomonitoring programs and the responsible and appropriate communication and use of biomonitoring information in assessing the potential risk posed by exposure to chemicals. However, biomonitoring provides only a snapshot of substances present in the body at a single point in time."

Biomonitoring is defined by the CDC as the direct measurement of exposure to a toxic substance by examining the substances themselves or their metabolites in human blood or urine samples.

The statement from American Chemistry Council continued: "It does not tell us where a substance came from, when the exposure to the substance occurred, or the duration and frequency of exposure. The presence of a substance detected by biomonitoring is not, on its own, an indicator if there will be any health effects."

The group does support modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act, she says.

Jacob notes that health trends in the U.S. suggest that the chemical load plays a role, citing growing rates of autism spectrum disorder, diabetes, and certain cancers.

"These chemicals are showing up in people. They can be potent at very low levels of exposure; we know that from animal studies."

While the rising number of chronic diseases has many roots, she says, the increased exposure to chemicals is one factor.

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