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Last Friday Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law the nation's first
statewide biomonitoring program. The plan is to collect blood, urine,
breast milk and hair from a few thousand Californians who volunteer
to have their bodies tested for pollutants.
What's in you is bound to scare you. Locked in fat cells and bone and
circulating through your blood is a potentially toxic cocktail of thousands
of human-made chemicals, some of which have been banned for decades.
They have names with pronunciations as troublesome as the chemicals
themselves, such as mono-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate.
Seeing how the daily recommended allowance for mono-2-ethylhexyl-
phthalate is zero milligrams, its presence in your body along with so
many other chemical byproducts of our industrial age might spell trouble.
You can eat right and exercise, swear off cigarettes, and bypass north-
Jersey by a good 100 miles on your way to New England, but you cannot
avoid a daily dose of these substances that—in a laboratory, fed to
animals at high doses—cause cancer and neurological problems.
These chemicals are everywhere, in the soil, air and water; and now
they are in us as a result of eating things that soak up soil, air and water.
Switching to organic foods won't help that much, because chemicals such
as dioxins and furans are ubiquitous, released into the air by industry
and even forest fires. These chemicals settle on organic crops and on
the grass that organic cattle eat.