Are Chemicals Making Us Sick?
A report released by the CDC detected a total of 212 chemicals in the blood and urine samples from a representative sample of 2,400 people nationwide. Here are just a few that are likely to be found in your body and may be a cause for concern:
Phthalates: These make plastics flexible and resilient, but they are also found in detergents and deodorants. They are endocrine disruptors and are linked to insulin insensitivity and obesity (Endocrine. 2017 Mar;55(3):666‐681).
Long‐Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs): These are used in electronics, automotive parts, textiles and in the construction and aerospace industries‐‐ not to mention nonstick cookware. These interfere with membrane lipids (Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014 Jun 1;277(2):124‐ 30). Animal studies have shown them to cause liver damage in rodents and monkeys.
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs): These are used in flame retardants and are used in plastics, wire insulation and textiles. They're also frequently found in furniture and mattresses. People are exposed to them by consuming fish, fatty foods and breast milk. They may be linked to thyroid cancer (Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Nov 19).
Short‐Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs): These are used in plastics like PVC piping and as lubricants and coolants in metal manufacturing. SCCPs have been shown to accumulate in animal tissue with a toxic effect (Sci Total Environ. 2019 Oct 1;685:297‐307).
Atrazine: More than 70 million pounds of this agricultural pesticide are sprayed on crop land each year, most of it to protect corn. The EPA is looking into possible carcinogenesis (Food Chem Toxicol. 2016 Dec;98(Pt A):25‐33).
Perchlorate: This is used primarily in the defense and aerospace industries for rocket and missile production. Many studies have shown it to suppress thyroid hormone production (Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018 Jul 3;9:348).
Benzene: This is a product of coal and petroleum production. It's also added to unleaded gasoline and industrial solvents and is a byproduct of tobacco smoke. It accumulates in fatty tissue, like the brain and nervous system. Exposure may be linked to lukemia (Occup Environ Med. 2019 Aug;76(8):527‐529).
Bisphenol A: This is commonly used in plastics such as eyeglass lenses, auto parts, CDs, food containers, plastic dinnerware and toys. It is highly toxic to some animals, interfering with brain and reproductive organ development. It is an endocrine disrupter (Rev Environ Health. 2019 Nov 19)