Dow Contaminates Our Bodies
In January 2003, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Over 9,000 people were tested for the presence of 116 chemicals in their bodies, including 34 pesticides. A report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) analyzed the CDC’s data to shed light on what the general population’s pesticide body burden is and what groups of people carry the highest amounts of specific pesticides.
Two pesticides evaluated dramatically exceeded the “acceptable” exposure thresholds set by government health and environmental agencies. These pesticides are chlorpyrifos and methyl parathion. Additionally, TCP, a metabolite of chlorpyrifos, was found in 93% of those tested. Chlorpyrifos is a cholinesterase inhibitor that affects the nervous system and brain and also a suspected endocrine disruptor. The average levels of chlorpyrifos in the test subjects ranged from two to five times what agencies consider to be “acceptable” levels for chronic exposure of vulnerable populations, (such as women, children and elderly people). Moreover, young children have twice the body burden of a breakdown product (or “metabolite”) specific to chlorpyrifos as compared to adult body burdens of the same metabolite.
Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical Corporation, is the primary manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, commonly referred to by its commercial name Dursban. PANNA’s Pesticide Trespass Index (PTI) suggests that 80% of the population’s chlorpyrifos body burden is the responsibility of Dow Chemical Corporation, according to conservative market share estimates for the chemical.