Daily News Archives
Population Burdened With High Levels of Pesticides In Their Bodies
"None of us choose to have hazardous pesticides in our bodies," said Kristin Schafer, PANNA Program Coordinator and lead author of the report. "Yet CDC found pesticides in 100% of the people who had both blood and urine tested. The average person in this group carried a toxic cocktail of 13 of the 23 pesticides we analyzed."
Many of the pesticides found in the test subjects have been linked to serious short- and long-term health effects including infertility, birth defects and childhood and adult cancers. "While the government develops safety levels for each chemical separately, this study shows that in the real world we are exposed to multiple chemicals simultaneously," explained Margaret Reeves, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at PANNA. "The synergistic effects of multiple exposures are unknown, but a growing body of research suggests that even at very low levels, the combination of these chemicals can be harmful to our health."
found that children, women and Mexican Americans shouldered the heaviest
"pesticide body burden." For example, children-the population
most vulnerable to pesticides-are exposed to the highest levels of nerve-damaging
organophosphorous (OP) pesticides. The CDC data show that the average
6 to11 year-old sampled is exposed to the OP pesticide chlorpyrifos
at four times the level U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers
"acceptable" for a long-term exposure. Chlorpyrifos, produced
principally by Dow Chemical Corporation and found in numerous products
such as Dursban, is designed to kill insects by disrupting the
nervous system. Although U.S. EPA restricted chlorpyrifos for most residential
uses in 2000, it continues to be used widely in agriculture and other
settings. In humans, chlorpyrifos is also a nerve poison, and has been
shown to disrupt hormones and interfere with normal development of the
nervous system in laboratory animals.
PAN's analysis found that Mexican Americans carry dramatically higher body burdens of five of the 17 evaluated pesticides in urine samples, including a breakdown product of methyl parathion, a neurotoxic, endocrine-disrupting, insecticide. Mexican Americans also had significantly higher body burdens of the breakdown products of the insecticides lindane and DDT than those found in other ethnic groups.
Chemical Trespass argues that pesticide manufacturers are primarily responsible for the problem of pesticide body burden. "The pesticides we carry in our bodies are made and aggressively promoted by agrochemical companies," stated Skip Spitzer, Corporate Accountability Program Coordinator at PANNA. "These companies also spend millions on political influence to block or undermine regulatory measures designed to protect public health and the environment."
The report introduces the Pesticide Trespass Index (PTI), a new tool for quantifying responsibility of individual pesticide manufacturers for their "pesticide trespass." Using the PTI, the report estimates that Dow Chemical is responsible for at least 80% of the chlorpyrifos breakdown products found in the bodies of those in the U.S.
"The fact that our children carry dangerous pesticides in their bodies represents a dramatic failure in the way our government protects us from toxic pesticides," said Monica Moore, PANNA Program Director. "We must stop this toxic trespass by shifting the burden from our bodies back to the corporate boardroom where it belongs."
Chemical Trespass provides recommendations for government, industry and the public including:
Other Beyond Pesticides' Daily News articles on studies finding people's bodies contaminated with toxic chemicals include:
TAKE ACTION: Contact [email protected], EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, and your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative, telling them how you feel about the importance of protecting human health from toxic pesticides and the necessity to take action on the above bullets.
Curtail your exposure to pesticides. Beyond Pesticides offers a plethora of non-toxic alternatives to pesticides. Learn how you can protect your children and loved ones from the effects of pesticides in your home, on your lawns, in schools, in hospitals and other public places. See Beyond Pesticides Alternative Fact Sheets, How-To Factsheets, information on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in schools, information on organic agriculture, and many other available materials and publications.