Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"pre-polluted babies"

marjorie says...

Thanks to swopblogger for highlighting a new study showing the huge amount of industrial pollutants to be found in umbilical cord blood. The Environmental Working Group studied blood collected by the Red Cross from the umbilical cords of ten babies. The blood was selected randomly in the summer of 2004 from babies born to mothers volunteering in the Red Cross national umbilical cord blood collection program, which means they could be of any ethnicity, of any class, of any geographic region in the U.S.

The study found “an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood … harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.”

In addition, among the compounds found in the blood are “eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles — including the Teflon chemical PFOA, recently characterized as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA's Science Advisory Board — dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products; and numerous pesticides.”

Folks, what are we doing?

I encourage you all to read the report, which notes that it is our responsibility as a society "to ensure that babies do not enter this world pre-polluted, with 200 industrial chemicals in their blood."

The study also makes the point that The Toxic Substances Control Act, the 1976 federal law meant to ensure the safety of commercial chemicals, provided en masse approval to 63,000 existing chemicals the day the law was passed, without safety scrutiny. This is an example of how regulatory actions can fail us -- how many people out there figure everything is ok since we have a "toxic substances control act"? The fact is that we don't know if these 1000s upon 1000s of chemicals are safe. What we do know is that we've seen large increases in cancer, respiratory ailments, neurological disorders...particularly in neighborhoods in close proximity to polluting industry. And this study tells us that we are all contaminated, we're all at risk.