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E-M:/ CDC testing data on chemicals in the population

Enviro-Mich message from Tracey Easthope <tracey@ecocenter.org>

Today the Centers for Disease Control released data on chemicals in 
the general population.  Attached are two links to learn more.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control released the results of its 1999
monitoring of 27 chemicals indicating exposure of the U.S. public to
environmental contaminants.  For more information, see

Below find a consensus statement of many national groups on the 
findings in the report, and their website http://www.toxicexposure.org

Statement of
              Health, Education, Religious, Women's,
          Children's, and Environmental Organizations

                               In Response to
                     The Nation's First Chemical
                     Exposure Monitoring Report

        As organizations concerned with the nation's health, the
        education and development of our children, and our moral
        responsibility to current and future generations, we welcome
        the nation's first-ever report of chemical contaminants in the
        bodies of average Americans.

        The results released today by the Centers for Disease Control
        and Prevention represent the nation's first step toward
        understanding the role that an array of chemical contaminants
        play in contributing to chronic diseases such as certain
        cancers, birth defects, mental disabilities, and developmental
        and neurological effects in children.

        The results raise serious concerns that need to be addressed.
        Among them:

               Since a majority of individuals in this study had
               detectable levels of chemical contaminants in their
               bodies, it is reasonable to assume that a majority of
               Americans carry within them a multiplicity of
               substances of varying toxicity that they are exposed to
               daily or that accumulate in their bodies over time;

               Actual mercury levels are higher than scientific models
               and bodies like the National Academy of Sciences have
               estimated. Levels of mercury among many women of
               childbearing age are high enough such that small
               increases in exposure could expose them and children
               in utero to unsafe levels. The findings suggest that more
               than 60,000 children are probably born each year with
               unsafe levels of mercury.

               Pesticide levels for a small portion of those tested were
               much higher than had been predicted. If these findings
               were found to hold true for the general population, many
               Americans could be exposed to pesticide levels much
               higher than was previously believed.

               Individuals are exposed to phthalates on a frequent if not
               daily basis, and at much higher levels than scientific
               models and a major government panel had predicted
               just six months ago. Women of childbearing age, in
               particular, are regularly exposed to a phthalate clearly
               associated with developmental effects in animal studies.

               No one can say with certainty whether the levels of
               chemicals found by the CDC are safe-even for those
               substances that appear to fall within legal exposure
               levels. Legal levels were never set to take into account
               the additive effects of chemicals acting in combination
               with one another or to take into account the much
               greater vulnerability of children and other

               The population-wide reductions in childhood lead
               poisoning document the continuing health benefits of
               government regulations to control lead. Nevertheless,
               this aggregate national data do not capture the
               continuing tragedy of childhood lead poisoning. More
               than one-third of preschool children in many low-income
               minority communities are still poisoned by lead paint
               hazards in their homes. The national lead data released
               by the CDC today underlines the need for much more
               localized data in the future.

               For almost every class of chemical, the CDC report
               demonstrates that scientific models and expert panels
               have generally underestimated the public's real world
               exposure to toxic chemicals.

        Because of government funding priorities, we know more about
        the chemical contaminants in the fish that swim in our lakes
        and streams than we do about the chemicals inside our
        children. Much more information is needed about chemical
        contaminants in humans in order to protect public health and
        because Americans have a fundamental right to know about
        the chemicals contaminants that might be in their bodies.
        Based on this:

            1.We are calling on Congress to immediately double the
               CDC's modest budget for exposure monitoring and to
               ramp up in five years to a comprehensive national
               exposure monitoring program that targets every state,
               every major subpopulation in the U.S., and more than
               500 toxic substances including all major pesticides and
               all chemicals found in public water systems. A
               comprehensive national exposure monitoring system
               together with disease incidence data will allow health
               officials to determine which chemicals pose health
               dangers to the public.
            2.We are calling on manufacturers and the U.S.
               government to act with more precaution: to ensure that
               all chemicals to which people are exposed are fully
               tested, especially for potential effects on children, and
               that more aggressive steps are taken to reduce
               exposure to substances that are harmful or potentially
               harmful, following the examples of lead and cotinine.
               Nearly 90% of the top-volume chemicals in commerce
               lack basic, publicly available screening information
               about hazards to health.
            3.In the absence of easily accessible health and toxicity
               information from the U.S. government on the chemicals
               identified in this exposure report, we are committed to
               making sure the public is aware of information they have
               a right to know. The web site,
               http://www.toxicexposure.org, will provide basic
               information about the sources of toxic substances
               identified in Americans' bodies by the CDC, the effects
               of such chemicals observed in scientific studies, and
               steps individuals can take to limit their exposure if they

              Coalition Signatories:
              Alliance To End Childhood Lead Poisoning
              American College of Preventive Medicine
              American Federation of Teachers
              American Public Health Association
              Association of Women's Health, Obstetric
                 and Neonatal Nurses
              Breast Cancer Fund
              Central Conference of American Rabbis
              Children's Environmental Health Network
              Environmental Working Group
              Health Care Without Harm
              Learning Disabilities Association of America
              National Council of Catholic Women
              National Education Association
              National Environmental Trust
              National Medical Association
              National Safety Council
              Physicians for Social Responsibility
              Union of American Hebrew Congregations
              US Public Interest Research Group
              YWCA of America

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