babies soaked in chemicals, study finds Average
of 287 contaminants found in cord blood of U.S.
babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline
byproducts and pesticides, according to a report released Thursday.
the effects on the babies are not clear, the survey prompted several members
of Congress to press for legislation that would strengthen controls on
chemicals in the environment.
report by the Environmental Working Group is based on tests of 10 samples of
umbilical-cord blood taken by the American Red Cross. They found an average of
287 contaminants in the blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides
and the Teflon chemical PFOA.
10 newborn babies ... were born polluted,” said New York Rep. Louise
Slaughter, who spoke a news conference about the findings Thursday.
ever we had proof that our nation’s pollution laws aren’t working, it’s
reading the list of industrial chemicals in the bodies of babies who have not
yet lived outside the womb,” Slaughter, a Democrat, said.
blood reflects what the mother passes to the baby through the placenta.
the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical-cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer
in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208
cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests,” the report
tests did not show how the chemicals got into the mothers’ bodies, or what
their effects might be on the babies.
and pesticides Among
the chemicals found in the cord blood were methylmercury,
produced by coal-fired power plants and certain industrial processes. People
can breathe it in or eat it in seafood and it causes brain and nerve damage.
found were polyaromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs,
which are produced by burning gasoline and garbage and which may cause cancer;
flame-retardant chemicals called polybrominateddibenzodioxins
and furans; and pesticides including DDT and chlordane.
same group analyzed the breast milk of mothers across the United
2003 and found varying levels of chemicals,
including flame retardants known as PBDEs. This
latest analysis also found PBDEs in cord blood.
had similar tests done on her own blood.
stunning results show chemicals daily pumping through my vital organs that
include PCBs that were banned decades ago as well as chemicals like Teflon
that are currently under federal investigation,” she said in remarks
prepared for the news conference.
have auto exhaust fumes, flame retardant chemicals, and in all, some 271
harmful substances pulsing through my veins. That’s hardly the picture of
health I had hoped for, but I’ve been living in an industrial society for
over 70 years.”
Government Accountability Office issued a report Wednesday saying the
Environmental Protection Agency does not have the powers it needs to fully
regulate toxic chemicals.
GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the EPA’s Toxic
Substances Control Act gives only “limited assurance” that new chemicals
entering the market are safe and said the EPA only rarely assesses chemicals
already on the market.
chemicals are being used to make baby bottles, food packaging and other
products that have never been fully evaluated for their health effects on
children — and some of these chemicals are turning up in our blood,” said
New Jersey Democrat Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who plans to co-sponsor a bill to
require chemical manufacturers to provide data to the EPA on the health
affects of their products.