FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Community Leaders Seek Answers on Chemicals in their Bodies
Today, community leaders in Seattle and Bellevue embarked on a journey to discover what toxic chemicals from household products and polluting industries have contaminated their bodies.
Today, community leaders in Seattle and Bellevue embarked on a journey to discover what toxic chemicals from household products and polluting industries have contaminated their bodies. As participants in the "Pollution in People Project," leaders donated blood, hair, and urine samples for laboratory testing.
A mobile sample collection unit visited homes and workplaces to obtain samples for testing.
Breast cancer survivor and state coordinator for the Breast Cancer Fund Pam Tazioli is a volunteer for the study. "It's really hard to think that these toxic chemicals in the household products we all use are in our bodies where they could be giving us cancer," she said. "I find it deeply disturbing to consider what we might find in my body."
The study, which is being conducted by the Washington Toxics Coalition and the Toxic Free Legacy Coalition, will test ten individuals and is designed to determine the extent to which toxic chemicals legally used in products and released by industry are ending up in the bodies of Washingtonians. Studies from around the globe are showing that toxic chemicals used in everyday products, from computers to cosmetics, are winding up in our bodies where they threaten our health. This is the first time, however, that a study in Washington state will provide answers to individuals about the toxic load they bear.
"We shouldn't have to worry that the food we eat or products we use are contaminated with chemicals that can cause learning disabilities or problems with fertility," said Erika Schreder, staff scientist with Washington Toxics Coalition. "We have an urgent public health need to set up rules that make sure products aren't on the market unless they can demonstrate they are safe for our health."
The chemicals in the study include perfluorinated compounds, used in non-stick pans and as stain protectors, the toxic flame retardants PBDEs, PCBs, the plasticizing chemicals phthalates that typically are used in vinyl products as well as cosmetics, and several classes of pesticides including the organophosphate pesticides and the herbicide 2,4-D.
Because of weak laws that do not require chemicals to be proven safe before they are marketed or used in products, many of the chemicals in the test are virtually unregulated, with no testing required for toxicity and no restrictions on chemicals linked to cancer and other serious health problems. While testing is required for pesticides, pesticides linked to cancer and nervous system and other health problems can still be used in homes and on food crops.
The Toxic Free Legacy Coalition is calling for the following:
- Governments should start by requiring companies to provide information on the hazards of the chemicals they produce or use.
- Industries should be required to replace hazardous chemicals with safer substitutes.
- Chemicals that may cause cancer, reproductive or nervous system harm, or build up in our bodies should be eliminated from consumer and other products.
- Government and industry should spur business investment in innovation and production of safer products and chemicals and better methods for producing food.
Washington Toxics Coalition
206-632-1545 ext. 119