Monday, October 22, 2007
Tests reveal industrial chemicals in kids' bodies
NEW YORK -- Michelle Hammond and Jeremiah Holland were intrigued when a friend at the Oakland Tribune asked them and their two young children to take part in a cutting-edge study to measure the industrial chemicals in their bodies.

"In the beginning, I wasn't worried at all; I was fascinated," Hammond, 37, recalled.

But that fascination soon changed to fear, as tests revealed that their children -- Rowan, then 18 months, and Mikaela, then 5 -- had chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents.

Click here to read the rest of the story

-- By Jordana Miller, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 5:45 PM ET
  30 Comments
It is pretty scary to think what is out there in the environment that is getting into your body can make you deathly ill! And then to think that really you can't do too much about it! I mean you have to go on living!! You can cut out some things but not all things!

I guess that is a price we pay for how we live our lives here in America! Sometimes having it all isn't all it's cracked up to be!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 6:03 PM ET
As a society we have a responsibility to ensure that babies do not enter this world pre-polluted. And the EPA needs to have a formal policy regarding childrens' vulnerability to chemicals.
Posted By Steve - Peoria, IL : 6:07 PM ET
Thanks for bringing this issue to light. There's a critical need for reform of the public health system , which fails to require proof that chemicals are safe for children.
Posted By brian rooney, boston, ma. : 6:11 PM ET
Our country has very weak chemical safety laws. The scary part is that adults may not see the effects until they are older.
Posted By deborah, lexington, ky. : 6:15 PM ET
I have always assumed that products were tested and found to be safe before they are sold to the public.....but then again I guess you're able to buy and smoke cigarettes.
Posted By Marcus, Chicago IL : 6:17 PM ET
Federal laws must be reformed to protect children, adults, and unborn children from chemical exposure, and more citizens need to get involved in this movement. It's never too late to take action.
Posted By Megan M., St. Louis, MO. : 6:18 PM ET
I have always assumed that products were tested and proven to be safe before they are sold to the public.......but then again I guess we are able to buy and smoke cigarettes.
Posted By Marcus, Chicago IL : 6:20 PM ET
Im glad CNN is covering this story because it's the kind of thing you don't think about until it actually happens to you or your family or friends. Maybe we need public testing; I sure would like to know what kind of chemicals are coursing through my body.
Posted By jeffrey g., andover md. : 6:21 PM ET
I remember when it first was on the news that disposable diapers take 200 years to disintegrate in a landfill; that fact stuck in my mind and was repulsive to me. We need to clean up our act, pun intended.
Posted By Lee J. - Overland Park, Ks. : 6:32 PM ET
How do they know that the chemicals in these childrens' bodies are "bad" chemicals? There are "good" chemicals, too.
Posted By jill c., manchester, vt. : 6:36 PM ET
I dont know how we're supposed to avoid chemcicals. Even the produce at the grocery store that looks so organic and fresh could be sprayed with chemicals to make it appear organic and fresh. Crazy!
Posted By Amy W-- Ft. Worth, TX. : 6:38 PM ET
We know that the products we buy are loaded with chemicals, but how do we really know the effect these hard-to-pronounce toxins have on our long-term health?
Posted By darrell , nashville, tn. : 6:41 PM ET
I'm shocked by this story. Can we expect answers and honest information from the gov't when we ask them to monitor what's in our air and in our water, and in our food?
Posted By Richard G. Minneapolis, MN : 6:46 PM ET
Why does our government allow these companies to treat humans like guinea pigs?

Ms. Whelan may claim that trace levels of industrial chemicals may not pose health risks on their own, but what happens when they are combined? Have there been any studies to determine the risks of combined trace chemical levels?

We already know that pharmaceutical companies are allowed to distribute medications not approved by the FDA so I am not surprised to learn that the EPA does not require the chemical manufacturers to conduct human toxicity studies before approving their chemicals.

Like the FDA, the EPA is more concerned with making it faster and more convenient for these companies to distribute their products and less concerned with the effects they may have on consumers.

Clearly these toxins pose a risk on some level. Since it is not practical to completely rid our environment of these chemicals what can an average person do to protect themselves and their families?

The body burden testing program should not just be dealt with on the state level; it should be a federal issue.

Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 6:56 PM ET
Wow. It's scary that Rowan and Mikaela had chemical exposure levels up to seven times more than their parents when the testing was done. Something needs to be done about this. It is time to start taking action.
Posted By Kaitlin, Bethlehem, PA : 7:24 PM ET
Where did this Elizabeth Whelan study environmental health???!!! And she delegates public health advocacy??!!
I don't understand, is she waiting for a casualty to happen and then she will consider imposing public health laws on increased environmental chemicals?!!!

Ridiculous!!!!!!
Posted By Ratna, New York, NY : 7:37 PM ET
Yikes! How scary is this that just by living a "normal" life, you can get your body full of chemicals and we don't know their full impact. Can't be good!
Posted By Pamina, New Rochelle, NY : 7:50 PM ET
I am glad that there is a test that people can take to see the amount of enviornmental toxins that are in the body. The level of cancer rates and other sicknesses are high. If these illnesses are due to high levels of enviornmental toxins, then it is incumbant upon the community as a whole to do somethng about it. We live in a nation that is led by greed. We need to start getting smarter and begin practicing responsible business practices. We say we live in a country that values human life, but we don't show it through how we live. We need to do much better.
Posted By Madeliene; Atlanta, Georgia : 7:51 PM ET
Is this kind of test going to be available as part of a yearly physical examination? Sounds to me that it should be. I've had a clean bill of health all these years. After reading this report, I'm not so sure.

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 7:52 PM ET
I think I'll go eat a Twinkie and drink a Diet Coke on that one...

Am I the only one who finds it appalling that parents would willingly expose their kids at such a young age to that magnitude of blood testing just to check for things they can't control or cure? And developmental disorders and other diseases are caused by many other things than chemicals (like genetics and the parents' health at the time of conception and the mother's health during pregnancy and God forbid sometimes just crappy luck).

I thought Anderson was going a bit above and beyond the call of being a good reporter having that much blood drawn, and he's a grown adult who can make his own decisions (unless there's some weird clause in his contract he and his agent overlooked). Little kids shouldn't be tested unnecessarily for any reason (and of course neither should adults but that's another story completely).

If you want to make a difference, stop buying the stuff with the chemicals in it, hit the companies where it hurts (the profits), buy organic and environmentally friendly, work for change, or stop whining. After Katrina and Rita dumped all the toxins into the ecosystem down here, I figure we're a case study for the CDC and EPA in the near future anyway. Who needs mattress chemicals when you've got a Corps of Engineers disaster in your backyard?
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 8:18 PM ET
There are two important issues I hope you address in the story that are not in this snippet: 1) Are the levels these people are experiencing above average and dangerous?, 2) What range of levels are found in an average cross-section of society?

"Seven times higher" sounds frightening - but if these are minuscule levels that are not harmful, that is a different issue. As a scientist, I am exposed to chemicals regularly - but exposure does not equal toxicity or harm in all cases.
Posted By Erin : 8:38 PM ET
It's amazing that there are so many toxins and chemical in the things we use daily. The EPA needs to take the time to test items made in the U.S. as well as those imported from other countries with chemical safety laws weaker than ours. We'd like to think that we are leaving a bright future for generations to come, but in acutally we may be stunting that.
Posted By Kristen K., Kaneohe, HI : 8:56 PM ET
chemicals, prescription drugs, our food - everything that we take for granted seem to have problems and put us at risk for disease or developmental problems. We complain about having too much government but in this case there doesn't seem to be enough to ensure the public health and safety. Progress is nice and has brought us many benefits; unfortunately no one has looked for or considered the costs. The old saying there is no such thing as a free lunch seems to apply to progress as well.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 9:39 PM ET
READ "NATURAL CURES "THEY" DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT" by Kevin Trudeau.

The FDA is not, repeat not there to protect us. They are all about the money.
Eat organic only and remember that everything you put onto your skin, goes INTO the body.
So- called 'diet' foods and drinks, including diet soda, is actually contributing to weight gain, makes you addicted to the food and contains aspartame, a dangerous excitotoxin that is the cause of many serious conditions.
Basically, don't ever consume anything you can get in an ordinary supermarket.Only by foods from farmers markets, health food stores and whole food stores (but even there you have to read the labels).
Read the book, do your research, change your behaviour.
Posted By Minou, New York,NY : 9:47 PM ET
I think more research should be done on what's causing these chemicals that's showing up in children and what products the chemicals are in, something should be done about it. These are our children we talking about after all this is the U.S. not China. Children can't take care of themselves we need to be held responsible for what happens to them.

Jennifer - Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 2:16 AM ET
As long as our society insists on having convenience and disposable consumer goods, we will be living in a toxic environment.
After suffering through decades of poor health, I was fortunate to find a doctor who started the "detox" process from many unhealthy eating habits. I have be a practicing vegan for the past four months and the change has been extraordinary. I've lost over 30 pounds of weight, stopped taking 4 separate medications (cholesterol, asthma, ulcer, and gastrointestinal issues), and established more than 4 hours of sleep each night. How? By not eating processed, sugared, meats, or dairy foods. Turns out I was allergic to dairy (but not intolerant). The choking, "inability to breathe" sensation that all the doctors previously diagnosed as asthma was actually my body's reaction to dairy products. Eliminating that from my diet means I have no difficulty breathing, so my energy and ability to exercise has skyrocketed. No more meat means my digestive system no longer struggles to function, so no more gastrointesinal or ulcer meds. The overall impact means my cholesterol levels have dropped dramatically, so I no longer have to take those meds. $100 savings PER MONTH in medications.
My hope is to reach target weight by the end of next year (very long way to go). But the longer I follow this lifestyle, the easier it gets. It's cheaper overall to eat vegan, regardless of what folks might think, given the price of organic produce. Buy directly from farmer;s markets, and eliminate pricey meats, and it will work. One full week's worth of tofu, tempeh, flax, and soy products equals the price of two large steaks, or one restaurant meal at Outback Steakhouse.
Same goes for organic cottons, flax, and hemp cloth materials. The product market for these materials has expanded exponentially in the past few years, making it possible to get almost any clothing or material product you may need. Take stock of what you need, don't get caught up in the consumer lifestyle, and live consciously. Everyone can do this.
C. Anne, Dover, NH
Posted By Anonymous : 1:25 PM ET
Anderson - be a CNN trendsetter. Skip the makeup. Not worth the toxins.

Aren't you relieved you don't dye your hair?!?

Laura
Oakton, VA
Posted By Anonymous : 11:57 PM ET
No child is born today without measurable amounts of synthetic chemicals in his/her blood. For chemical companies to continue to justify that any amount of their toxicants in children is acceptable is a form of chemical trespassing, and total abdication of product responsibility. My son was dx with leukemia @ age 4 which was linked to migratorial industrial chemicals that had made their way into our groundwater and indoor air. That is called involuntary exposure. For parents who don't mind their children being guinea pigs for industry, I suggest you take an environmental health sciences class to become better informed. There are exposures that tweak DNA function which have multi-generational effects. That means what you are exposed to today can impact your grandchildren to come. MICAH's Mission, Athens, GA
Posted By Anonymous : 9:03 AM ET
I watched Planet in Peril last night 10/23/07 where Anderson had his blood tested for traces of industrial chemicals. DDT and PCBs were found in his blood. Anderson believed he had picked up DDT from visiting Africa, however, as a biologist I ask Anderson to consider to following term: bioaccumulation. This is a common term used in biology which essentially describes the cycle of toxin accumulation in organisms which digest or are exposed to other organisms which have toxins in their blood (example: mole is exposed to soils contaminated with DDT, snake eats mole, hawk eats snake - hawk fails to successfully reproduce due to toxin accumulating through eaten prey). Bioaccumulation rates vary, but have been found to double as the food chain increases, thus leaving the hawk with more DDT in its system than the snake. DDT was once heavily used in the U.S. as a pesticide in the mid 1900's. Scientist found links between failed reproduction rates in bald eagles and levels of DDT which was found in the eagle's bodies. It is possible that all of Americans have been either directly exposed to DDT - as it was spread by air in the mid 1990's, or indirectly through the commercial crops we've eaten which were exposed to DDT, or even yet from the soils which still contain evidence of DDT. The same could be said about many toxic chemicals including PCBs. Americans do not need to travel to Africa to have levels of DDT found in their blood. Food for thought.
Posted By Melissia Carter : 10:37 AM ET
When we face the fact that the chemical stuff in our bodies is seven times or even more than the nomal level,what would we think? We definitly hope that the figures are still within the safe range.But what about the future? We`ll continue to eat the food,drink the water,breath the air,as what we did before.And the level of chemical accumulation will rise higher and higher.
So,what i want to say is that when we think about our future life,we really need to do someting necessery.It will pretty horrible that the environmental burden turns into a vital stuff in ten or twenty years .
Government should play the most important part in this movement.Because they have the big power which is given by national people to instructe a more reasonable regim to improve our living environment.
However,it`s a hard problem to make the governments to realise their responsibilities and do it.
Maybe I ,till now, have just touch the core part of the problem.
Posted By Anonymous : 11:44 AM ET
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