“This could be revolutionary in terms of environmental health,” Richard Jackson, director of the National Center for Environmental Health, told reporters. “For the first time, we’ve profiled what is in people.”
The data, which will become a baseline for future studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on testing of blood and urine samples from a 1999 national health survey. The 27 substances were broken down into four categories: metals, tobacco, pesticides and phthalates, which are chemicals often found in soft plastics and cosmetics.
Jackson called the report a first but “major step toward assessing which environmental chemicals are present in blood and urine samples, who is exposed, trends in exposure over time and whether interventions to reduce exposure are working.”
“The report is a wake-up call,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Americans are clearly being exposed to an array of toxic chemicals, many of which can and should be avoided.”