phthalates

The chemicals within us

JenniferSitting before a Senate subcommittee is a young mother. She is slim, pretty, intelligent . . . and full of dangerous chemicals.

Molly Jones Gray of Seattle testified this week in Washington, D.C., regarding human exposure to toxic chemicals.  After participating in a study conducted by the Washington Toxics Coalition, a pregnant Gray was horrified to learn that her body contained a variety of dangerous chemicals. Gray said she was testifying not only on her own behalf, but also for her 7-month-old son Paxton. She told the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health:

On behalf of my son Paxton and all other children, I am asking for your help to lower our body burdens of chemicals that come between us and our health.

The Toxics Coalition conducted a study testing nine pregnant women from Washington, Oregon, and California for five groups of chemicals: phthalates, mercury, so-called “Teflon” chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds, bisphenol A, and the flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A.

The study, entitled Earliest Exposures, examined the blood and urine of the nine women in their second trimester.

Doing the laundry? You're probably polluting

Meeting this hour at a home in Northeast Seattle is a group of people with a message for the rest of the world: When you clean your laundry, you're probably polluting local waterways.

The gathering is a press conference by People for Puget Sound and the Washington Toxics Coalition to announce findings from a study of homes in western Washington in which a class of chemicals known as phthalates were found in house dust and laundry wastewater.

It's pronounced THAL-ates. Get used to hearing about them. They are endocrine disrupters that come from all that plastic we've got around our houses.

These chemicals have now been measured at six homes around Puget Sound, and sometimes at levels that raise concern. While this is an admittedly small study on one chemical, it shows that stuff in people's house dust is getting into the wastewater, which ultimately flows into local waterways.

More details here. It's time for the InvestigateWest staff meeting. I'll update this later if I get time.

Update 8:45 p.m.: OK, folks,  I'm running out of gas after a 13-hour workday and so will have to be satisfied with referring you to a story by John Stang at seattlepi.com. I had intended to send you to a story by my wife, Sally Deneen, for seattlepostglobe.org, but it's not posted yet. Nor do I see anything over at the Seattle Times.

-- Robert McClure