SAN FRANCISCO - May 11- Many U.S. residents carry toxic pesticides in their bodies above government assessed "acceptable" levels, according to a report released today by Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN). 'Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability', makes public for the first time an analysis of pesticide-related data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a study of levels of chemicals in 9,282 people nationwide.
"None of us choose to have hazardous pesticides in our bodies," said Kristin Schafer, PAN Program Coordinator and lead author of the report. "Yet CDC found pesticides in 100 percent of the people who had both blood and urine tested. The average person in this group carried a toxic cocktail of 13 of the 23 pesticides we analyzed."
Many of the pesticides found in the test subjects have been linked to serious health effects including infertility, birth defects and childhood and adult cancers. "While the government develops safety levels for each chemical separately, this study shows that in the real world we are exposed to multiple chemicals simultaneously," explained Margaret Reeves, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at PAN. "The synergistic effects of multiple exposures are unknown, but a growing body of research suggests that even at very low levels, the combination of these chemicals can be harmful to our health."
Chemical Trespass found that children, women and Mexican Americans shoulder the heaviest "pesticide body burden." For example, children are exposed to the highest levels of nerve- damaging organophosphorous (OP) pesticides. The CDC data show that the average 6 to11 year-old sampled is exposed to the OP pesticide chlorpyrifos at four times the level U.S. EPA considers "acceptable" for long-term exposure. Chemical Trespass argues that pesticide manufacturers are primarily responsible for the problem of pesticide body burden. "The pesticides we carry in our bodies are made and aggressively promoted by agrochemical companies," stated Skip Spitzer, Corporate Accountability Program Coordinator at PAN. "These companies also spend millions on political influence to block or undermine regulatory measures designed to protect public health and the environment."
"The fact that our children carry dangerous pesticides in their bodies represents a dramatic failure in the way our government protects us from toxic pesticides," said Monica Moore, PAN Program Director. "We must stop this toxic trespass by shifting the burden from our bodies back to the corporate boardroom where it belongs."