Pollution in People

In 2007, five Connecticut moms participated in a groundbreaking, nationwide biomonitoring project.

The report, entitled Is it In Us: Toxic Trespass, Regulatory Failure, and Opportunities for Action, documents the results of blood and urine testing of 35 people from seven states for the presence of three classes of chemicals: phthalates, bisphenol A, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The project found all three classes of toxic chemicals in every person tested.

Learn more at www.isitinus.org, or click here to read our press release.

Laura Anderson, 45, is a mother, artist and certified school psychologist. She lives in the suburbs in Wethersfield, Connecticut with her husband and two daughters, ages 12 and 7. Through her work as a school psychologist she became interested in the rising prevalence of young students suffering from behavioral disorders, and she hopes to learn more about the linkages between toxins and mental and physical health. We found four phthalates and nine PBDEs in Laura’s body, and bisphenol A in her urine.

“As hard as I try to eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle, these results show that there is just no way to avoid being exposed to toxic chemicals. I feel honored to participate in this project and make a contribution to this effort to protect the human race.”

Stacy Carney, 36, is a healthy living enthusiast, activist, wife, mother, massage therapist and occasional organic market gardener. She has been using natural body care products for over 10 years and hopes that ALL consumer products will be safe someday. Stacy lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut with her family. We found all five phthalates and nine PBDEs in Stacy’s body, and bisphenol A in her urine. She had the highest levels of BPA in her urine, exceeding CDC’s 95th percentile.

“I was pleased to find my levels were relatively low, but also surprised to find that I had levels of some of these chemicals at all considering my healthy lifestyle.”

Toni N. Harp, 60, Connecticut State Senator and Deputy President Pro Tempore, has prioritized many initiatives important to her constituents, including reducing exposure to pollution and providing better access to quality health care. Senator Harp has lived in New Haven for more than 25 years and is currently employed as the Homeless Service Director at the Hill Health Center. She is married to Wendell Harp, an architect, and she is the proud mother of three children–Djana, Jamil, and Matthew. We found nine PBDEs in Toni’s body. She had detectable, but not quantifiable levels of bisphenol A in her blood. Toni did not contribute a urine sample, therefore we did not gather data on phthalates.

“As a health professional and a legislator, this is empowering information for me and I hope it galvanizes change.”

Karen Owen, 57, the oldest of nine children, grew up on the seashore in New Jersey. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Hartford, Connecticut in 2004, the same year her son graduated from high school. Currently she is a school nurse at an upper middle school in Connecticut, where she also coaches intramural tennis. She still lives near the water on Long Island Sound and is concerned about environmental issues that affect us all. We found four phthalates and ten PBDEs in Karen’s body, and bisphenol A in her blood and urine. She had the most individual chemicals (17 of 20) in our project.

“The body burden project provides a special opportunity for me to become more aware of environmental exposure to chemicals we take for granted are NOT there.”

Nancy Simcox, 42, was raised in rural upstate New York where she gained a deep appreciation for the natural environment. She has worked as a research scientist in occupational and environmental health for the past fifteen years. She is also a mother who has become more active in promoting a better future for our children. She currently serves on the board of the Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health, and she resides with her family in Durham, CT. We found four phthalates and eight PBDEs in Nancy’s body, as well as bisphenol A in her urine. She is one of six people for whom we found BDE-183.

“Some of my levels were greater than I expected,even greater than the average levels of the general population, and this just makes me wonder what body burden a worker with even more exposures might have.”