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Dangerous Chemicals in Common Goods That We Use Daily

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Toxic Chemicals
A study has found that chemicals present in everyday products that we're using on daily basis are entering our bodies, and these chemicals have been linked to birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, asthma, and other health problems.

The results of the study showed that regardless of age, race, geographic location and occupation, all the study participants had at least traces of three classes of mostly unregulated chemicals in their blood or urine. The chemicals are found in tens of thousands of consumer products including wallpaper, furniture, carpet, linings of tin cans, plastic water bottles, shampoos, lotions, baby bottles, nail polish, perfume and toys.

The Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center coordinated this seven-state biomonitoring project in the U.S. where thirty-five people, five from each of seven states, were tested for three groups of common industrial chemicals that are under increasing scrutiny for their contributions to a growing epidemic of diseases and disorders.

Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health, which state 5 of the thirty-five people were from, under the campaign "Pollution in People" released detailed report of the study and the facts regarding these dangerous chemicals. On their website they described: "Blood and urine samples from each participant were tested for: phthalates, which are plasticizers commonly used in cosmetics and plastics; polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used as flame retardants in furniture, mattresses, and electronics; and bisphenol A, a chemical used in some plastic water bottles and as a liner in tin cans."

In a press release, they indicated that all three chemicals, which are highly toxic chemicals used in everyday products, were found in the five Michiganders and the other 30 people across the country.

They said that the project by the name of 'Is It In Us? - Toxic Trespass, Regulatory Failure & Opportunies for Action' revealed: "Widespread presence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, and bisphenol A - chemicals that have been linked to birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, asthma, and other health impacts."

Two of the 5 Michiganders who participated in the study were Republican Terry Brown, who was elected State Representative from Michigan's 84th District in 2006, and his 12 year-old son Bryan.

While most father-son duos find time to bond through traditional activities such as hunting or fishing, Rep. Terry Brown and his son, Bryan, were spending some of their time together by participating in the national biomonitoring project, "Pollution in People."

"I thought if we can be a part to maybe help educate the public and help educate ourselves about the kinds of toxins we are living with, then we should do that," said Terry Brown.

Dr. Ted Schettler of Ann Arbor, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network and physician for the study, said: "Previous tests by the Centers for Disease Control on people nationwide have also shown widespread exposure to the three types of chemicals. Compared to national figures, the five Michiganders had relatively high pthalates and three of the five had high levels of PBBs."

Laura Varon Brown, one of the participants in the study said she has a daughter with celiac disease who must stick to a wheat-free diet, and there are food labels to tell her what is and isn't wheat-free. "There should be similar disclosures for chemicals in household products," she said.

"We have the right to know what's in there," she said, pointing to a plastic water bottle on her desk. "If consumers know what they're exposed to, they can decide for themselves what to avoid. What they're exposed to is the best place to start, and then people can make their own informed decisions," she said.

Donele Wilkins, another one of the participants in the study, said: "We refuse to be guinea pigs in a massive, uncontrolled experiment, especially when a few people are making a lot of money off selling products that have these toxics in them."

Her 18 year-old son Payton, who was also a part of the study said he was disturbed to discover he already has a buildup of contaminants. "I want to live a healthy, long life," he said.

The chemicals are legal and registered under the Toxic Substances Control Act. But the act has not been updated since it was passed in 1976 and companies are not required to test products containing the chemicals to make sure they're safe for humans before marketing them.

The Huron Daily Tribune reported: "Although individual biomonitoring data in general is not predictive for individual health outcomes, biomonitoring can identify what environmental chemicals are present in a person's body at a particular moment in time. Some of these chemicals pass through the body quickly and may be eliminated within a few hours' time while others may be persistent and could remain in the body for decades.

Though the study's sample size is small, the organization expects the results will be consistent with larger studies and support the conclusion that everyone is likely to have chemicals in their bodies that could potentially cause health problems."

Genevieve Howe is the Environmental Health Campaign director for the Ecology Center and Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health. She said the goal of the project is to educate the public, policy makers and opinion-leaders about the presence of toxic chemicals in everyone's bodies, and support statewide and national advocacy efforts to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.

She also said the project chose Terry and Brian Brown because the group wanted at least one legislator, as well as at least one parent-child combination to participate in the study.

"We wanted at least some of them to be high profiled or reasonably high profiled to get the media attention. So we wanted at least one legislator, and we see him as sort of an up and coming voice in the House who can influence others," Howe said. "Also, we really liked the idea of a parent-child combo."

Until the lawmakers do something about these chemicals or the companies decide to take initiative and remove these chemicals from the products that they're selling to us, all we could do is protect from it.

Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health has very good guidelines towered the bottom of their website on how to reduce or minimize your exposure to these dangerous chemicals. Also, it would be very good to read through their report and educate yourself about these dangerous chemicals that are affecting our health daily.

Their report is located at: http://www.mnceh.org/campaigns.biomonitoring.php.

Also, click here with your right mouse button to download the full report of this study and read how the chemicals in the everyday products are affecting your health.


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Dangerous Chemicals