Chemical Exposures in U.S. Population Measured in CDC Report

The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals shows most Americans have measurable levels of many chemicals in their blood or urine, including PFOA, perchlorate, and MTBE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals on Dec. 10. The 527-page document lists blood and urine levels for 212 chemicals, including 75 chemicals that had never before been measured in a representative sample of the U.S. population. Arsenic, atrazine mercapturate and several other herbicides, 15 pesticides, phthalates, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), mercury, lead, beryllium, and benzene and several other VOCs are among the chemicals included in the assessment, which used blood and urine samples from about 2,400 people who participated in CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 through 2004.

Several of these chemicals are detectable in most or all of the tested subjects. They include PFOA, a chemical used in the production of non-stick and heat-resistant coatings for cookware; acrylamide, a byproduct of tobacco smoke and cooking foods containging carbohydrates at high temperatures; perchlorate, a natural and manmade chemical used to produce rocket fuel, fireworks, and flares; and the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether.

The full report is available here, and an executive summary of its findings is available here.

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