October 6, 2005

Many dangerous chemicals in European blood-WWF

GENEVA (Reuters) - European children are absorbing
dangerous chemicals into their blood from computers, textiles,
cosmetics and electrical appliances, according to a new study
released on Thursday.

The conservation body WWF said results of its first
European Union-wide family testing survey found a total of 73
man-made hazardous compounds in the blood of grandmothers,
mothers and children from 13 families in 12 countries.

The highest number of chemicals, an average of 63 and
including some which are now banned like DDT, was recorded
among the oldest generation tested, while the middle generation
-- the mothers -- registered only 49.

But tests on the children in the 13 families showed an
average of 59 dangerous chemicals -- many of them new products
in widespread use like flame retardants, the WWF said.

"It shows that we are all unwittingly the subjects of an
uncontrolled global experiment, and its is particularly
shocking to discover that toxic chemicals in daily use are
contaminating the blood of our children," said WWF specialist
Karl Wagner.

"How much more evidence is needed before industry and
European politicians accept that these hazardous chemicals
cannot be adequately controlled?" he asked.

In the tests, blood samples from the 13 families were
analyzed for 107 different man-made persistent , accumulative
or hormone-disrupting chemicals from five main groups.

The WWF, based at Gland near Geneva, said one flame
retardant, used in printed circuit boards in electronic
appliances, was found at its highest level in one of the
children tested.

Of 31 different flame retardants of another type analyzed
in the survey, 17 were found among the children tested compared
to 10 among the grandmothers and eight among the mothers.

The tests matched conclusions of similar sampling last year
from 14 EU environment and health ministers which showed
contamination by 55 chemicals, some banned years ago and others
in daily use.

The latest survey, WWF said, raises the question of whether
future generations will be more exposed to potentially cancer-
producing and endocrine-disrupting chemicals that accumulate in
human bodies to increasing levels over a life-span.

The latest tests were carried out in Belgium, where two
families were involved, and on one family each from Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia,
Poland, Sweden and Luxembourg.

The full report is available on the WWF website: