Magazine article State Legislatures

Are Poisons Lurking in Human Bodies? (on First Reading)

Magazine article State Legislatures

Are Poisons Lurking in Human Bodies? (on First Reading)

Article excerpt

Did you ever wonder what toxic pollutants might be flowing through your veins?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) answers this question with the release of its first "National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals."

The new data, which provide information on concentrations of 27 toxic substances in the U.S. population (more than 100 will be tracked in the future), is part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the nation's most comprehensive study.

"This new resource is a significant development in the field of environmental health," says Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "It will help us to better track the exposures of Americans to chemicals in the environment and to measure the effectiveness of our public health efforts."

A team of health personnel and laboratory technicians using high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment, staff the mobile examination centers.

The exposure report provides legislators, policymakers and the general public with the first accurate glimpse of the chemicals Americans are exposed to, and will be a step toward making the connection between health and the environment. This first report includes data on substances such as lead, mercury, phthalates (chemicals used in soft plastics and cosmetics), second-hand smoke and pesticides.

Knowing what chemicals Americans are exposed to will determine the hazards and help public health officials and legislators develop sound policies. …

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