Many dangerous chemicals in European blood-WWF
Wed 5 Oct 2005 8:09 PM ET - Reuters
GENEVA, Oct 6 (Reuters) - European children are absorbing dangerous
chemicals into their blood from computers, textiles, cosmetics and
electrical appliances, according to a new study released on Thursday.
The conservation body WWF said results of its first European Union-wide
family testing survey found a total of 73 man-made hazardous compounds
in the blood of grandmothers, mothers and children from 13 families in 12
The highest number of chemicals, an average of 63 and including some
which are now banned like DDT, was recorded among the oldest generation
tested, while the middle generation -- the mothers -- registered only 49.
But tests on the children in the 13 families showed an average of 59
dangerous chemicals -- many of them new products in widespread use like flame
retardants, the WWF said.
"It shows that we are all unwittingly the subjects of an
uncontrolled global experiment, and its is particularly shocking to discover
that toxic chemicals in daily use are contaminating the blood of our
children," said WWF specialist Karl Wagner.
"How much more evidence is needed before industry and European
politicians accept that these hazardous chemicals cannot be adequately
controlled?" he asked.
In the tests, blood samples from the 13 families were analysed for 107
different man-made persistent , accumulative or hormone-disrupting chemicals
from five main groups.
The WWF, based at Gland near Geneva, said one flame retardant, used in
printed circuit boards in electronic appliances, was found at its highest
level in one of the children tested.
Of 31 different flame retardants of another type analysed in the survey,
17 were found among the children tested compared to 10 among the grandmothers
and eight among the mothers.
The tests matched conclusions of similar sampling last year from 14 EU
environment and health ministers which showed contamination by 55 chemicals,
some banned years ago and others in daily use.
The latest survey, WWF said, raises the question of whether future
generations will be more exposed to potentially cancer- producing and
endocrine-disrupting chemicals that accumulate in human bodies to increasing
levels over a life-span.
The latest tests were carried out in Belgium, where two families were
involved, and on one family each from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and Luxemburg.
The full report is available on the WWF website: www.panda.org/detox.
¬© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Children often more contaminated than their mothers, new WWF
6, Oct 2005
Brussels, Belgium/Gland, Switzerland ’ -- Results from WWF's
family bloodtesting survey released today found a total of 73 man-made
chemicals in the blood of 13 families (grandmothers, mothers and
12 European countries.
The highest number of chemicals was detected in the grandmothers'
(63). However, the younger generation had more chemicals in their blood
(59) than their
mothers (49), and some chemicals were found at their highest levels in
WWF’Äôs Generations X survey (with participants aged 12 to 92)
results of previous tests on Members of the European Parliament, EU
"It shows we are all unwittingly the subjects of an uncontrolled
global experiment, and it is
particularly shocking to discover that toxic chemicals in daily use are
contaminating the blood of our children," said Karl Wagner, Director of WWF's DetoX
Blood samples were analyzed for 107 different man-made persistent,
and/or hormone disrupting chemicals from five main groups. Results
reveal that every
family member is contaminated with a cocktail of at least 18
chemicals, many found in everyday consumer goods.
Newer chemicals in widespread use, such as chemicals and artificial
musks contained in
daily use items such as computers, textiles, cosmetics or electrical
appliances can be
found more frequently and often at higher levels in the youngest
generation. In contrast,
the grandmothers generation is the most contaminated with older, banned
chemicals, such as DDT and PCBs.
"How much more evidence is needed before industry and European
politicians accept that
these hazardous chemicals cannot be adequately controlled?" added
"The draft EU chemicals law, REACH, is currently facing a frontal
attack from the
chemical industry and European legislators seem happy to let them pull
the strings while
ignoring their responsibility to protect our health."
The flame retardant TBBP-A, used in printed circuit boards in electronic
found in 18 family members (3 grandmothers, 7 mothers and 8 children).
The highest level was found in a child. Of the 31 different PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl
flame retardants analyzed in the survey, 17 were found in the childrens'
generation, compared to ten in the grandmothers' and eight in the mothers'. And the
highest level of Bisphenol-A, an oestrogenic (hormone mimicking) chemical, used
for the manufacture of certain plastic bottles and CDs was found in a child.
WWF warns that these results are very worrying as most of the chemicals
break down very slowly, persist in the environment and accumulate in our
ever increasing levels during the life span. The study raises the
question of whether
future generations will be more exposed to potentially carcinogenic or
disrupting chemicals that may lead to negative long term health effects.
-- WWF's Generations X study was done in Belgium (2 families), Denmark,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Sweden and
-- WWF looked for 107 different man-made chemicals from 5 main groups and
substances: 12 organochlorine pesticides (including DDT); 44
biphenyls (PCBs); 33 brominated flame retardants; 8 'non-stick'
chemicals (PFCs), including PFOS and PFOA; 7 artificial musks (used
in cosmetics and
cleaning products); 2 antimicrobial (triclosan and it's
breakdown product, methyl
triclosan); and the polycarbonate plastic monomer Bisphenol-A (an
endocrine-disrupter). [Emphasis added.]
-- This study was done with the support of the EEN (EPHA Environment Network)
and Eurocoop (European Community of Consumer Cooperatives).
For further information:
Noemi Cano, Communications Manager
WWF DetoX Campaign
Tel: +32 2 743 8806
Olivier van Bogaert, Senior Press Officer
Tel: +41 22 364 9554
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