Monday, February 21, 2011
'Chemical body burden' researchers and advocates raise questions about biomonitoring studies and hazards regulations
WASHINGTON—The catch-phrase "chemical body burden," or the presence of hazardous chemicals and their residues in humans, has started to be teased apart by researchers and environmental health advocates in recent years. Good thing, because awareness of this issue is rising in the public sphere, and more Americans are obtaining laboratory results for the extent of chemicals lingering in their bodies, compounds that include pthalates (plasticizers), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as those found in some paints),bisphenol A, lead, arsenic, mercury, asbestos and chlorpyrifos (an insecticide). Tested individuals remain uncertain about how to respond to this information, even as they see potentially linked poor negative health outcomes in their families. Some of these results are made available to subjects participating in household exposures studies who typically are eager to receive their personal results, compare them with national trends and learn how to mitigate impacts.