Body Burden: The Pollution In People

In 2001, journalist Bill Moyers had a sample of his blood and urine analyzed.

Even though Moyers has never worked in a chemical plant – or lived near one – he learned that his body contains a chemical soup of 84 industrial chemicals, including 31 different types of PCBs, 13 different dioxins, and pesticides such as DDT.

Moyers chronicled the story of how and why his body became riddled with toxic chemicals in the PBS program Trade Secrets, A Moyers Report.
Here’s the accompanying video: Moyers’ 2-hour Program: Trade Secrets.

Over the last five decades, more than 75,000 chemicals have been produced, turned into consumer products or released into the environment. … Only a fraction have gone through complete testing to find out whether they might cause problems for human health. Many that are produced in enormous quantities have never been tested at all.

Today, every man, woman and child has synthetic chemicals in their bodies. No child is born free of them.

That was 20 years ago. There are now 350,000 chemicals, 70,000 produced in just the last ten years.

In his 2012 New York Times’ article, Big Chem, Big Harm?, Nicholas Kristof concluded:

Like a lot of Americans, I used to be skeptical of risks from chemicals like endocrine disruptors that are all around us. What could be safer than canned food? I figured that opposition came from tree-hugging Luddites prone to conspiracy theories.

Yet, a few years ago, I began to read the peer-reviewed journal articles, and it became obvious that the opposition to endocrine disruptors is led by toxicologists, endocrinologists, urologists and pediatricians. These are serious scientists, yet they don’t often have the ear of politicians or journalists.

So, 11 years after Moyers’ exposé, the New York Times was still allowing one of its columnists to refer to people who cared about endocrine disruptors and carcinogens as “tree-hugging Luddites prone to conspiracy theories.” We’re now 20 years on and not much has changed. Why?

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