“It is alarming that we keep seeing certain chemicals travel from pregnant women to their children, which means these chemicals can be with us for generations,” she added.
The researchers used high-resolution mass spectrometry to identify man-made chemicals in people.
“These new technologies are promising in enabling us to identify more chemicals in people, but our study findings also make clear that chemical manufacturers need to provide analytical standards so that we can confirm the presence of chemicals and evaluate their toxicity,” said co-lead author Dimitri Panagopoulos Abrahamsson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow with UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, of which Woodruff is director.
The researchers report that 55 of the 109 chemicals they tentatively identified appear not to have been previously reported in people:
» 1 is used as a pesticide (bis(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidini-4-y) decanedioate)
» 2 are PFASs (methyl perfluoroundecanoate, most likely used in the manufacturing of nonstick cookware and waterproof fabrics; 2-perfluorodecyl ethanoic acid)
» 10 are used as plasticizers (e.g. Sumilizer GA 80 — used in food packaging, paper plates, small appliances)
» 2 are used in cosmetics
» 4 are high production volume (HPV) chemicals
» 37 have little to no information about their sources or uses (e.g., 1-(1-Acetyl-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-4-yl)-3-dodecylpyrrolidine-2,5-dione, used in manufacturing fragrances and paints — this chemical is so little known that there is currently no acronym — and (2R0-7-hydroxy-8-(2-hydroxyethyl)-5-methoxy-2-,3-dihydrochromen-4-one (Acronym: LL-D-253alpha), for which there is limited to no information about its uses or source
“It’s very concerning that we are unable to identify the uses or sources of so many of these chemicals,” Woodruff said. “EPA must do a better job of requiring the chemical industry to standardize its reporting of chemical compounds and uses. And they need to use their authority to ensure that we have adequate information to evaluate potential health harms and remove chemicals from the market that pose a risk.”
The study was published last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.