Study: Banned Toxins Still Present in American Population

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by Susanne Posel

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Researchers at the George Washington University (GWU) School of Public Health (SPH) are analyzing chemicals with the purpose of outlining a possible ban of specific types of common chemicals because of their potential of causing harm.

More than 11,000 adults and children had their urine taken in 2001 to 2010 and this information was provided for this study.

According to the study , evidence is shown that with “increased exposure to phthalates that could pose similar health risks.”

Ami Zota, lead author and assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at GWU, said: “Exposure to three of the phthalates that have been banned in children’s toys has decreased over 10 years.”

Phthalates are used in the manufacturing of plastic to give it an elasticity and flexibility.

Products that include phthalates are:

• Nail polish
• Shampoo
• Hair spray
• Soap
• Detergents
• Raincoats
• Vinyl flooring
• Perfumes
• Plastic products
• Building materials

This chemical has been linked through testing to:

Hormone disruption
Altered male genitals
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains: “Human health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown. Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates.”

Zota warns that there is a palatable increase in exposure to phthalates; however “[the increase is] probably because these new phthalates are replacing the phthalates that have been phased out.”

In 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Public Citizen (PC) filed a lawsuit against the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regarding children’s toys and childcare products that contain phthalates because of the danger they pose to public health.

Zota could not differential between some phthalates that would be less harmful than others, and therefore did not recommend a blanket ban on them all.

She did say: “We need to do a better job of understanding the health and safety ramifications of chemicals before they’re used in a widespread manner.”

Liz Bowman, spokesperson for the lobby group, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said: “Despite the fact that phthalates are used in many products, exposure is extremely low – much lower than the levels considered safe by regulatory agencies.”

Tracey Woodruff, director of the Program on Reproductive Health and Environment (PRHE) at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) remarked : “Our study shows the power of monitoring exposures to chemicals so we can identify where we have made progress and where more information is needed. It also indicates that actions by government and consumer groups can make a difference in exposures in all Americans.”

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