A report released by the Pesticide Action Network North America and Commonweal finds that Americans can experience up to 70 daily exposures to residues of a class of toxic chemicals known aspersistent organic pollutants (POPs), including such chemicals as DDT and dioxin, through their diets.
The report, "Nowhere to Hide: Persistent Toxic Chemicals in the U.S. Food Supply," analyzes chemical residue data collected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and findspersistent chemical contaminants in ALL food groups.
Exposure to POPs has been linked to serious diseases and developmental disorders, including:
Breast and other types of cancer
Immune system suppression
Nervous system disorders
Disruption of hormonal systems
In the United States, many of the chemicals responsible for contaminating the food supply have been banned. However, other countries continue to manufacture and use the chemicals, and their residues are carried across the globe by air and water currents and precipitation. "U.S. consumers have a right to know that chemicals banned in this country years ago continue to contaminate their food," said Kristin Schafer of Pesticide Action Network.
The group's evaluation of POP residue data yielded startling findings, including the following:
Virtually ALL food products are contaminated with POPs that have been banned in the U.S., including baked goods, fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and dairy products.
It is not unusual for daily diets to contain food items contaminated withthree to seven POPs.
A typical holiday dinner menu of 11 food items can deliver thirty-eight "hits" of exposure to POPs, where a "hit" is one persistent toxic chemical on one food item.
The sample daily meal plans used in the study were each found to deliver between 63 and 70 separate exposures to POPs per day.
The top 10 POPs-contaminated food items, in alphabetical order, are as follows:
The two most pervasive POPs found in food aredieldrinandDDE.
Dieldrinis a highly persistent and very toxic organochlorine pesticide banned since the late 1970s.
DDEis a breakdown product of DDT, which has been banned in the US since 1972.
The data obtained from the FDA shows that levels of contaminants in food are often at or near the levels found by the federal government to cause public health concern. In addition, recent scientific studies have discovered thatexposure to miniscule levels of POPs at crucial times in fetal and infant development can disrupt or damage human hormone, reproductive, neurological and immune systems.
" These chemicals pose clear and present dangers for the nation's consumers," said report co-author Sharyle Patton of Commonweal.
CLICK HEREto view the Pesticide Action Network's "Nowhere to Hide" report and also browse their website for lots of excellent information on pesticides or call them at (415) 981-1771. For more information about the health effects of POPs, contact Dr. Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, of the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility or call them at (617) 536-7033.