Tests reveal presence of toxic chemicals in MEPs’ blood

Blood tests conducted by WWF on Parliamentarians have revealed the
presence of dangerous chemicals in every sample. Industry says it
is “concerned” but questions the real threat to human health.

An analysis by WWF of blood samples taken from 47 people from
across Europe has revealed the presence of 76 persistent,
bio-accumulative and toxic industrial chemicals in the blood of
those tested. 

The sample included 39 Members of the European Parliament, four
observers from accession countries, one former MEP and three WWF
staff, representing 17 countries in Europe. Their blood samples
were analysed for 101 chemicals from five groups: organochlorine
pesticides including DDTs; PCBs; brominated flame retardants;
phthalates; and perfluorinated compounds (PFOS).

Every sample contained traces of at least one in each of the
five groups of substances that were tested, a total of 76 from the
101. "Continuing exposure to a cocktail of toxic chemicals cannot
be considered safe," said Karl Wagner, the Director of WWF's DetoX
Campaign. He says the best way to protect people "is for the EU to
adopt a strengthened version of the proposed REACH law to identify
and phase out the most harmful chemicals".

Responding to EURACTIV, the European chemicals industry
association CEFIC said they were "clearly concerned" and taking the
survey "very seriously". "Obviously, we're aware that traces of
chemicals can be found in people's blood. That has always been the
case," added CEFIC. But the association questioned what could
really be interpreted from the analysis. "It doesn't help much on
[assessing] the risks," a CEFIC official told us. "Whether this
[study] is pointing to a real health threat remains to be seen," he
added. He pointed to an earlier study by WWF which found
concentrations of substances "below levels of health concerns".

"A lot of these substances have already been abandoned," the
official said adding that the levels had been "falling
sustantially" over time.

In the meantime, internal wranglings are still going on in the
Parliament over what Committee will take the lead on the REACH
dossier (environment, industry or legal affairs committee). A
senior source in the Parliament secretariat told EURACTIV that an
unofficial settlement had been reached whereby the whole dossier
would be left for the next Parliament to decide in autumn.

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