Apoisonous Betrayal. Forget Letting Us Down over Global Warming, Blair's True Crime Is to Sabotage Proposals Limiting the Chemicals Poisoning Us All

Daily Mail (London), November 15, 2005 | Go to article overview

Apoisonous Betrayal. Forget Letting Us Down over Global Warming, Blair's True Crime Is to Sabotage Proposals Limiting the Chemicals Poisoning Us All


Byline: GEOFFREY LEAN

THE PRIME Minister came under attack yesterday from a leading environmental group for failing to do enough to tackle the issue of global warming.

But WWF-UK (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) also made another charge, which got little publicity, showing Mr Blair to be even more culpable over an equally serious issue threatening the health of us all.

Every man, woman and child in Britain is contaminated by poisonous chemicals from daily exposure to an increasingly polluted environment.

So why is the Government seeking to sabotage the first serious attempt to reduce the concentration of such chemicals? For that that is exactly what Tony Blair and his ministers are doing.

They are - scandalously - emasculating a Europe-wide bid to control highly hazardous substances that doctors blame for increasing asthma, cancers, infertility and birth defects, including the so-called gender-bender effects in newborns.

What is worse is that Blair & co are doing this mainly at the behest of giant American and German chemical companies, who have for years been campaigning against measures that will make no more than a minuscule dent in their booming profits, but will protect the health of millions.

It is hard to imagine a more cynical betrayal, and yet the finishing touches are being put to this campaign this week.

Tens of thousands of untested chemicals surround us in our homes and workplaces in our foods, clothes, cosmetics and plastic objects. The European Commission concedes that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. We do not even have proper safety information on 85 per cent of them.

Horrifyingly, many pollute our bodies.

WWF-UK has been checking the blood of British volunteers for about 100 of the most dangerous chemicals - including those found in toys, toothpaste, cosmetics, food wrapping film, computers, food cans, furniture, non-stick pans and a host of other everyday objects.

They found that everyone tested showed some degree of contamination.

On average, adults were found to have 27 of the hazardous substances in their blood, though the exact composition of the toxic cocktail varied. In all, about twothirds of the chemicals were discovered in at least one person.

Various celebrities were tested, with similar results - ranging from ten chemicals in the blood of super-fit swimmer Sharron Davies to 36 each for comedian David Baddiel and television presenter Melinda Messenger.

Worse, children were usually more heavily contaminated than their parents or grandparents.

Worse still, mothers pass on the poisons to their babies in the womb or through breast feeding.

A study of tissue taken from umbilical cords showed that every sample contained some of the hazardous chemicals.

No wonder doctors are increasingly worried.

This month, the Standing Committee of European Doctors - an alliance of the continent's top medical organisations, including the British Medical Association, which represents two million physicians - warned: 'Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children and to Man's survival.' The committee pointed out that in Europe, 'one child out of seven suffers from asthma, 15 per cent of couples cannot have children, and the number of congenital malformations is rising.

'The development of all these diseases appears to be linked mainly to the toxic role of chemical pollutants in our environment.' If that were not enough, Dominique Belpomme, a leading French cancer specialist, estimates that 'some 75 per cent of cancers are due to mutations induced by environmental factors, mainly chemicals'.

Suspected 'gender-bender' substances - phthalates in plastics, bisphenol A in tin cans and baby bottles, flame retardants in furniture and electrical goods and PCBs - are being increasingly blamed for a precipitous plunge in sperm counts worldwide. …

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