Indecent exposure

The Centers for Disease Control has released what it calls the “most comprehensive assessment to date of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in our environment.” In the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, the CDC measured 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine to discover how much of the chemicals in air, water, food, soil, dust and consumer products actually gets into the human body. Seventy-five of the chemicals, including arsenic, bisphenol A (BPA), and perchlorate, had never before been measured in Americans.

Just because a chemical is present in the blood or urine doesn’t mean it threatens that person’s health—that depends on its dose or concentration and the person’s individual susceptibility to the chemical. “For most of the environmental chemicals included in the Fourth Report, more research is needed to determine whether exposure at the levels reported is a cause for health concern,” the report stated.

Some of the key findings include:

Fire retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) that accumulate in the environment and in human fat tissue were found in nearly all participants.

Bisphenol A, an endocrine disruptor, was found in more than 90 percent of the urine samples.

• Most participants had measurable levels of polytetrafluoroethylene, otherwise known as Teflon, which is used to create heat-resistant, non-stick coating in cookware.

Read the full report at