Friday, July 15, 2005

Unborn Babies Soaked in Chemicals, Survey Finds

From ENN:

WASHINGTON — Unborn U.S. babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline byproducts and pesticides, according to a report to be released Thursday.

Although the effects on the babies are not clear, the survey prompted several members of Congress to press for legislation that would strengthen controls on chemicals in the environment.

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 New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, who planned to publicize the findings at a news conference Thursday.

"If ever we had proof that our nation's pollution laws aren't working, it's reading the list of industrial chemicals in the bodies of babies who have not yet lived outside the womb," Slaughter, a Democrat, said.

Cord blood reflects what the mother passes to the baby through the placenta.

"Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 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 said.
On an emotional level, this is certainly shocking, but knowing what we know about toxin levels in most human beings today, it's not completely surprising. Another angle occured to me though: will the "pro-life" movement address this issue? Given their concern over children in the womb, this should be a natural for them, right? Well, after checking a number of anti-abortion organizations' websites, I found.... nothing.

OK, on one level, I'm engaging in my usual sarcasm; on another, though, I'm quite serious. So serious, in fact, that I'm inviting you to join me in contacting some of these organizations to let them know about this news and ask them what they're going to do about it. Here are some of the biggies:

So, go get 'em. Let us know what you write and what you hear back. Also let us know about other organizations that need to respond to this news.

UPDATE: Here's the note I sent:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently came across the following news item that I thought would be of interest to you and your organization:

Unborn Babies Soaked in Chemicals, Survey Finds

Given your concern for the unborn, I'm sure you'll want to address these findings. I look forward to your response.

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg,Ph.D.

I'll certainly let you know about any responses I receive.

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Buy Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner's Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution at Powell's City of Books.