News Briefs

Bad Blood
As part of its DETOX campaign, in support of European Union proposals for stricter chemical regulation, the World Wildlife Fund analyzed blood samples from 14 Ministers from 13 European Countries. The analysis found 55 separate chemicals in the samples, with PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds and brominated flame retardants in the blood of every Minister.

Click here for the report.

Second National Exposure Report
The CDC has issued its second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. The report presents exposure information for 116 environmental chemicals measured in blood and urine specimens taken from a sample of people who represent the U.S. population for the years 1999 and 2000.According to the CDC, the report is "by far the most extensive assessment ever of exposure of the U.S. population to environmental chemicals."

Click here for the report.

Bearing the Burden of Toxic Exposures
As a companion to the CDC report, Physicians for Social Responsibility has published Bearing the Burden: Health Implications of Environmental Pollutants in Our Bodies. The report is intended to help the public interpret CDC's findings.

Click here for this report.

Drugging the Environment
Concern has grown in recent years regarding the proliferation of pharmaceuticals and personal care chemicals in the environment, including a number known to store in fat. It is becoming apparent that these "emerging pollutants" are regulated by agencies with little expertise regarding their environmental fate.

Click here for a site on this subject hosted by the US EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory. 

Click here for a supplement on this topic published in Environmental Health Perspectives (pdf format).

Disrupting Life's Messages
In a commentary just published in the UNEP magazine Our Planet, J. Peterson Meyers, the author of Our Stolen Future, offers an an overview of current research regarding chemical interference with the "messaging systems" that direct biological development. He suggests that all bioaccumulative compounds should be eliminated from use, even without demonstrating toxicological risk.

Click here to read the commentary.

Chemical Crisis
A new report from the UK-based Friends of the Earth (FOE) examines how the Human Genome Project, related research, and new techniques such as "expression profiling," will increase understanding of the effects that specific chemicals have on the body. FOE warns this may mean a crisis for the chemical industry, opening the door to product liability suits and damaging consumer confidence.

Click here to access the report and related materials.

Toxic Footprints 
The 2001 report from the United Nations Population Fund observes that, "Human activity has affected every part of the planet, no matter how remote, and every ecosystem, from the simplest to the most complex."

Click here to view this report online. The chapters "Environmental Trends" and "Health and the Environment" have particular relevance to the need for effective detoxification.

World Trade Center Disaster: Estimating Chemical Exposures 
Researchers have made an attempt to estimate the impact of mass exposure to chemicals such as dioxin and dibenzofuran as a result of the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Click here to view an abstract or download the complete paper.

The US EPA has posted summaries of environmental monitoring at the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites. Click here.

National Exposure Report
In March, 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

This report measures the exposure of the U.S. population to 27 environmental chemicals. The data is based on blood and urine samples

Click here to view the report online.

Agent Orange Study
According to an analysis just released by the Institute of Medicine, the children of veterans exposed to herbicides such as Agent Orange during the Vietnam War may have a greater chance of being afflicted with a certain type of leukemia
. Anthony J. Principi, secretary of veterans affairs, called the report "very serious."

Click here to read the Institute of Medicine's press release, and view the report online.

Birth Defects
A study conducted by the Pew Environmental Health Commission at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health concluded that there is increasing evidence that environmental factors, including diet, personal behavior and exposure to toxic substances and pollutants, may play an important role in the development of birth defects and related conditions. The report is available online at the Commission's Web site. Click here.

Drug Abuse
The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) -- an independent organization with responsibility for implementing United Nations drug conventions -- gives region-by-region details regarding trends in drug abuse and drug trade. Reports for the last 6 years can be found at the INCB Web site. Click here.

Statistical data regarding drug abuse trends in the U.S. are provided online by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Household surveys of drug use and summaries of drug-related emergency room episodes (the DAWN report) are available. Click here.

Environmental Policy
Academy member Carl Smith recently edited "The Precautionary Principle and Environmental Policy: Science, Uncertainty and Sustainability," a series of papers published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. A limited number of copies of the journal are available to Academy members and others with an active involvement in contamination issues. For details, send an email to

Of interest

Chemicals in the European Environment: 
Low Doses High Stakes?

A joint report from the European Environmental Agency and the United Nations Environment Programme (full text available online.) Click here.

GEO 2000
A summary of current global issues relating to environmental contamination from the United Nations Environment Programme. Click here.

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