Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

Some 2,500 people were tested in the largest survey ever to see if the pesticides and other chemicals polluting our environment are also polluting our bodies. 

The Story

Some 2,500 people were tested in the largest survey ever to see if the pesticides and other chemicals polluting our environment are also polluting our bodies. Levels of 116 chemicals found in food, soil, water, air, or dust were measured to see if they were also in people’s bodies (for 89 of them, this was the first survey). This huge undertaking shows the staggering amount of chemicals now in our bodies. It also confirms the results of previous smaller studies: children are at greater risk for higher exposure than are adults. Organophosphate pesticides, for instance, were found at about twice the levels in children’s bodies, compared to adults (and remember, even at the same levels children would more likely be harmed).

Also of note, DDT continues to be detected in people in the U.S., even though its use was banned in 1973. The adverse effects of DDT are well-documented. It is particularly devastating to children. In this study, DDT was found in today’s children – born long after the ban! The CDC states, “Food is the primary pathway of DDT exposure for the general population.” Continued exposure “may be from persisting DDT/DDE in the environment or DDT residues in food.” Also, food imported from other countries may still be grown with DDT.

Food is the primary pathway for many of the chemicals in the CDC report. Organic foods are grown without pesticides or other toxic chemicals that contaminate our soil, water or food – or our children.

Notes

  • Work was done at the CDC’s Environmental Health Laboratory. They tested the blood and urine of selected participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
  • Published January 2003.
  • Work was published online by the CDC at www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/.

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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