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ACC Concerned Over Reporting of Biomonitoring Results

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last evening CNN and the Discovery Channel aired the documentary, Planet in Peril. The documentary touched on many environmental and resource issues around the globe. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) supports efforts like this that look holistically at our planet and explore the challenges we face as a society. As part of the documentary, biomonitoring, the measurement of environmental chemicals in human tissues and body fluids was highlighted as Anderson Cooper had his blood tested for the presence of chemicals. Surprising to no one they found chemicals, both naturally occurring and man made. The fact is our bodies are chemistry in action. Everything we eat, breath, drink, or touch is made of chemicals. Chemicals are used in life-saving medicines, to clean drinking water, in bulletproof vests to protect our soldiers and law enforcement, in airbags, bicycle helmets, and in so many other products that keep individuals and families healthy and safe.

One concern about this segment was its focus on the mere presence of particular chemicals as opposed to whether those chemicals are present at levels that cause harm to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Just because people have an environmental chemical in their blood or urine does not mean that the chemical causes disease." In fact, many chemicals, such as those in medicines, actually do just the opposite.

Also of concern to ACC and thousands of medical doctors and research scientists around the globe is the responsible communication of biomonitoring results, not only to the individual but also to the larger community. It's important to realize that the levels in humans reported in biomonitoring studies are very, very small, typically in parts-per-million, billion or even trillion. (Note: a part-per-billion is equivalent to one drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool!) Biomonitoring data do not inform us about how the chemical was introduced, how long it has been there, or whether it poses any health risk what so ever. It would be erroneous to suggest that just because effects can be observed in toxicity studies at high doses of a chemical, that the same effects would occur at much, much lower doses.

The chemical industry recognizes that environmental health issues represent a legitimate concern, and we both recognize and act on our responsibility to help preserve a healthy environment, not only for our own children, but also for future generations. This is a fundamental responsibility we take seriously. ACC members meet this responsibility through compliance with a network of regulatory safeguards including many federal and state laws and through voluntary programs, such as Responsible Care(R), the HPV Challenge and the Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program Pilot. (VCCEP). Annually, our industry invests over $26 billion on research and innovation, $14 billion on complying with the dozens of federal, and hundreds of state regulations that govern the products, processes and distribution of the products of chemistry, and above that ACC members have invested over $120 million over the past five years in research to evaluate health and environmental impacts of chemicals -- much of which relates to the interpretation of biomonitoring data.

To Learn More About Biomonitoring and Responsible Reporting of Results:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Academy of Sciences


The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care(R), common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $635 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is one of the nation's largest exporters, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council
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