U.S. Babies Being Born Polluted

A frightening report from the Environmental Working Group has found that tests of umbilical cord blood found numerous amounts of dangerous pollutants. The Washington Post reports that the report's findings have prompted several members of Congress to press for new legislation to help keep these chemicals out of the environemnt.
The report, by the Environmental Working Group, is based on tests of 10 samples of umbilical-cord blood taken by the American Red Cross. They found an average of 287 contaminants in the blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and the Teflon chemical PFOA.

"These 10 newborn babies . . . were born polluted," said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), who spoke at a news conference about the findings yesterday.
The Environmental Working Group said of the 287 chemicals they detected in umbilical cord blood, 180 can cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The report's website also includes commentary from Dr. Alan Greene about umbilical cord blood and the risk from industrial chemicals.
It is the blood supply that bathed and nourished every cell of the baby while her organs and systems formed. It satisfied her hunger. The cord blood is an echo of the polluted lake within. It is tangible evidence that, after the cord is cut, the industrial chemicals that the mother was exposed to are now coursing through her baby's veins as the little one first greets the world.
Dr. Greene also has a post on his website about the study.

Posted on July 18, 2005

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