We already know what little girls are made of (sugar and spice and everything nice) but a new and alarming study finds that adult women are made of many more ingredients, none so sweet.
The blood of five women was tested over the course of two years, and researchers with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Rachel's Network detected dozens of man-made chemicals, some suspected of causing health problems.
Each of the women is a local advocate for environmental health and environmental justice -- the notion that poor and minority neighborhoods should not be subjected to more pollution because they lack political power.
That the researchers were able to detect these chemicals is not a surprise. They looked for chemicals that are widely in use today in American commerce, like flame retardants and synthetic fragrances. But the researchers say that the number and type of man-made chemicals in these women's blood "underscore the widespread and systemic failure of current law to protect the public from chemicals, many of which persist in the environment for decades or far longer, that are associated in animal studies with cancer, reproductive problems and behavioral effects."
Each woman tested positive for between 25 and 45 different chemicals. This "body burden" of chemicals isn't a new revelation: the results basically mimic past research on the subject. But the EPA is under increasing pressure to account for the health effects of contaminants at low levels (given that many chemicals can mimic hormones that act at minute concentrations) and the effects of contaminants in various combinations.
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