Scientists have researched the chemicals that can be found in the bodies of average Americans and have found that the results are alarming. ?This is a wake-up call: Americans are clearly being exposed to an array of toxic chemicals,? says John Balbus of George Washington University.

Federal health researchers found measurable levels of 27 environmental chemicals in the blood and urine of most of the 3,800 people tested in 12 different regions of the U.S. The chemicals included lead, mercury, tobacco smoke, pesticides and phthalates, which soften the plastics used in cosmetics, fragrances and soft plastic toys.

The amount detected may pose no immediate health risk, says pediatrician Philip Landrigan of Mount Sinai Medical School, but ?we have to worry about long-term consequences. Does it mean cancer rates are going to go up? Does it mean there will be reproductive problems in kids??

There was some good news. The report found a 75% drop in exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke in non-smokers during the last decade and a continuing decline in lead levels in children?s blood. However, they also found mercury exposures approaching levels that could be dangerous to developing fetuses in 10% of women of childbearing age. Also, phthalates have been associated with brain abnormalities in animal fetuses.

Sandra Tirey, of the American Chemistry Council, says the report ?does not provide information about the source or sources of exposure, when the exposure occurred or, most important, what effect, if any, that substance may have on the body.?

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