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Клубове/ Я! Архивите са живи / Местни избори 2003 Всички теми Следваща тема Пълен преглед*
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Тема Effects of Man-made chemicals on us
АвторKalina (Нерегистриран) 
Публикувано25.03.04 19:20  

Body of evidence; Nicola Baird decided to have tests to find out the effects unavoidable exposure to man-made chemicals have on us; Observer 2002


Body of evidence

Nicola Baird decided to have tests to find out the effects unavoidable exposure to man-made
chemicals have on us. The scary results show that she, like the rest of us, is carrying a toxic

Wednesday September 25, 2002
The Guardian

Forty years ago, Rachel Carson warned in her classic book, Silent Spring, that, for the first time
in the history of the world, every human being was subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals
from the moment of conception until death.

I never would have believed that I had passed a toxic timebomb to my daughters if I had not had a
pesticide screening analysis. This provided indisputable proof that I have six pesticide-related
substances in my body, including DDT. Three were already banned in international agreements, while
one, lindane, was just about to be banned in Europe.

The tests showed that, like every 30-something woman, my body contained chlorinated pesticides and
organophosphorous (OP) pesticides. I even have PCBs - industrial chemicals used in electronic
equipment - which are no longer produced. No human or animal, it seems, is PCB-free.

As all three of these chemical families are fat-soluble, they were also passed to my girls every
time they were fed breastmilk. And no woman can avoid passing them on to her children, because they
also cross the placenta.

Pesticides such as lindane and DDT (also a DDT breakdown product known as DDE), and PCBs have
half-lives of many years and may well outlive me. All are also implicated as oestrogenic hormone
disrupters, which seems to make women more susceptible to reproductive problems, immune system
diseases and cancers.

The disrupters do this by blocking the messages sent around the body by naturally occurring
hormones. Artificial hormone mimics are also blamed for the rise in numbers of severely hyperactive

A trace of tetrachlorvinphos, an OP pesticide used in anti-flea cat collars, was also found in my
blood. Though this has a short life in the bloodstream, my tests show "recent exposure". But I don't
have a cat.

The tests showed that at some point I unwittingly ate carbaryl, an insecticide no longer approved
for use in the UK, but known to slip through customs as residues on imported fruit and vegetables.
Carbaryl is also in some head lice treatments that I was encouraged to use on my two-year-old after
she was banned from her nursery for having nits.

Those were just the pesticides. It is believed that westerners have at least 300 man-made chemicals
in their bodies. They include hormone disrupters picked up from exposure to paint, duvets and
mattresses, others from perfumes or washing detergents, food can linings and baby bottles, carpets,
computers, sofas, TVs, computers and laptops as well as plastic toys and window frames. There will
also be dioxins, an extremely persistent pollutant, easily stored in fat, created by industrial
processes and household waste incineration.

"All babies are exposed to these chemicals in the womb and then have a lifetime of exposure to the
ones already in the environment. We know so little: most people have no idea that there are
negotiations going on in the EC about which chemicals will be allowed. And people know so little
about what their skin absorbs, they don't think about the aerosols, perfumes or sunscreens they
use," says Rosie Dodds, of the National Childbirth Trust.

Despite Carson's early warning, we still don't know whether this toxic cocktail of DDT and other
man-made chemicals is compromising our immune systems and fertility and hastening our death. There
is little anyone can do about it because the chemicals' long life is going to make it extremely hard
for us to clean up tainted blood.

Progress at banning chemicals is slow. When asked if having such chemicals in my body mattered, a
Department of Health spokesperson cautiously said: "It is widely recognised that having very
persistent and bio-accumulative chemicals in the body is undesirable. Steps are being undertaken
internationally to reduce exposures to a range of such compounds commonly referred to as POPs
(persistent organic pollutants)."

It is true that a dozen of the deadliest POPs were blacklisted by 127 countries in May 2001, but
they can last for decades before natural processes break them down. "It's a tiny group of chemicals
and most were already banned in Europe, so it's not very relevant for people in the developed
world," says chemical campaigner, Dr Michael Warhurst.

· Nicola Baird's book The Toxic Home will be published by The Women's Press.

Invisible space invaders

Home is meant to be safe. We double lock, fit grilles and obey insurance demands to install window
locks. Families with young children add fire guards and stair gates. We also battle against mess and
germs in a bid to keep our homes clear of health hazards. Yet we unwittingly expose ourselves to
chemical abuse from our choice of paints, pest sprays, anti-mould potions and cleaning products. Our
carpets, furniture, plastic utensils all affect the home environment.

There are around 30,000 man-made chemicals being produced, yet little research has been done into
the risks they present to human health and to the environment.

The chemical industry estimates that the average western family buys Ј25 of chemicals a week. But
the European Commission's environment directorate says that "The potential risks are many and can be
very serious, including cancer, birth defects, disruption of the body's hormone system, damage to
vital organs, skin disorders, allergies and asthma."

Our lifestyles don't help. Most of us spend 90% of our time indoors, in well-insulated homes. Indoor
air can contain more than 30,000 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), from orange zest to
substances added to room-freshening aerosols, disinfectants, drycleaned clothes, insect repellents
and paint. VOCs compromise our family's safety because they can change from solid or liquid form
into a vapour.

All products containing VOC ingredients emit minute quantities of VOC gasses, which dissipate around
the furniture and furnishings. So anything dropped on to the carpet, even a toy that will be picked
up and chewed by a young child, may then be coated with VOCs.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, but it is one of the most common of the VOCs found in our homes.
This clear gas is released from items like carpets, mattresses, plastics, soft furnishing, varnishes
and vinyl.

Formaldehyde-based glues and adhesive resins are widely used in chipboard and MDF furniture popular
with flat-pack kitchen purchasers and DIY fans. Formaldehyde can aggravate the asthmatic - in
Britain there are 5.1 million - and long term exposure can cause respiratory problems and eczema.

There are also concerns about the use and disposal of PVC, phathalates (an ingredient in soft
plastic) and flame retardants.

Sweden is leading the call for a ban on some of the most risky brominated flame retardants as used
in sofas, mattresses and furnishings. But efforts are being hindered by resistance from US
manufacturers, who are members of the American Electronics Association.

The UK's Chemical Industry Association has not responded well to precautionary withdrawals either.
In 1999 the DTI published a report claiming that concerns about flame retardants were mere "chemical
paranoia or chemophobia".

"You could drive yourself mad trying to avoid all the chemicals you are exposed to at home," says
Friends of the Earth's safer chemicals campaigner, Clare Oxborrow. "You can't make a choice as a
consumer to avoid most chemicals because you don't have a right to know what chemicals are in
products, from skincare to sofas.

"That's why the only sensible option is to join up with other concerned people to put pressure on
those retailers, product manufacturers and politicians who can make a difference."

The good news is that five retailers - Boots, B&Q, Co-op, Early Learning Centre and Marks & Spencer,
have pledged to look into the chemicals used in their own brand products and phase out any that are
risky within five years. Swedish-owned Ikea is leading the way in removing all BFRs from its
flat-pack products.

Цялата тема
* Effects of Man-made chemicals on us Kalina   25.03.04 19:20
. * Re: Effects of Man-made chemicals on us Viper X   29.03.04 20:36
. * пълния превод Бoйkoтиpaм Maчa   03.04.04 13:23
. * Re: пълния превод Viper X   06.04.04 18:59
. * Re: пълния превод GAN   11.04.04 17:16
. * Re: пълния превод Viper X   22.04.04 12:34
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