The Body Burden
By THOMAS P. HEALY
Chemical and biological weapons disguised as beneficial pesticides and
herbicides are poisoning Americans. Exposure is at levels "well above officially
permitted thresholds established by government health and environmental
agencies," according to "Chemical Trespass," a study released May 11 by the Pesticide
Action Network North America (PANNA).
And even though the long-term health effects of exposure are unknown, this
hazardous industrial arsenal - estimated between 70,000 and 85,000 chemicals -
grows by 2,000 new compounds each year.
PANNA based its report on an analysis of data compiled by the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its January 2003 "Second National
Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals." The "body burden" - the
pesticides humans carry - is most pronounced in children, Mexican-Americans and
adult women, including those of child-bearing age who unwittingly and
unwillingly pass on a toxic legacy to their offspring in the womb.
For its report, CDC tested 34 pesticides and found 23 with levels significant
enough to allow for statistical analysis. Those 23 evaluated by PANNA include
insecticides containing chlorpyrifos, organophosphates, lindane and p,p-DDE -
a breakdown product of DDT.
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Download "Chemical Trespass" at www.panna.org