Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated information on the levels of 51 chemicals reported in the Fourth Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, which was originally released in December of last year. This study examined human exposure to many common chemicals which present potential health risks.
Potentially hazardous chemicals that were found in a large majority of subjects included Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, found in many manufactured products, Bisphenol A, often found in plastic food containers such as PC and PVC based water bottles, and Perfluorooctanoic Acid, which is found in the polymer used to produce heat-resistant, non-stick coatings in cookware. On the bright side, the study also found that levels of Lead in children’s blood were declining, as is exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Levels of the toxic elements Arsenic, Mercury, Cadmium, as well as volatile organic compounds were also explored in the report.
The CDC points out that the report provides “unique exposure information to scientists, physicians, and health officials to help prevent effects that may result from exposure to environmental chemicals.” They plan to use the study to learn more about which chemicals get into Americans’ bodies and at what concentrations, establish reference values in order to determine if an individual or group has an unusually high exposure, and track exposure levels over time.
Little information is currently available about the effects of exposure to environmental concentrations of many of chemicals in everyday use. Studies like this one are essential for providing the information necessary to make good policy decisions.
A summary of the report is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport_ExecutiveSummary.pdf