A German bunker full of blood and urine has the best record of how chemicals contaminate us – National Geographic UK

Lead has followed a similar trend. Data derived from 3, 851 young adults in Münster shows that the average blood lead level decreased by about 87 percent between 1981 plus 2019. The main reason: Germany’s ban on leaded gasoline took effect inside 1988, and so car exhaust no longer pollutes the air with guide.

“No manufacturer deliberately puts harmful substances onto the market, ” Weber believes. “But sometimes only with time do we learn about the true toxicity associated with certain chemicals. That’s what makes bio-monitoring like ours so important for the entire society. ”

Even though certain testing is mandatory before using new substances in commercial products, data about long-term health effects will be scarce for most of them. The number of synthetic chemicals is usually growing so fast it’s almost impossible to keep track of their individual effects, let alone their combined ones.

The European Union probably has the strongest chemical regulations. In April, the European Commission published a “restriction roadmap ”: Up to 12, 000 substances linked to hormonal disruption, cancer, obesity, or diabetes could be banned, officials said. It would be the “largest ever ban of toxic chemicals” to date, according in order to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the network associated with citizens’ groups, and it could come as a harsh blow to the petrochemical industry.

One main target: PFAS, dubbed “forever chemicals” because they take hundreds of years to naturally degrade. Food-packaging and flame retardants, waterproof clothing plus outdoor gear, umbrellas and non-stick pans—all use harmful PFAS-substances.

Traces of these plus other ingredients such as phthalates, which are used as solvents and while plasticisers, have been found in literally every sample since the ESB began looking for them, Lermen and Weber say. The particular chemicals are omnipresent and it is impossible in order to reliably trace their source. That is definitely why regulating their use is extremely important.

Europe has banned or regulated individual phthalates , identified as endocrine disruptors that might interfere with reproduction, since 1999. Manufacturers possess responded by changing the particular formula of prohibited substances ever so slightly to invent new, unregulated chemicals with similar features. Studies produced from the German ESB show that the overall exposure to phthalates has increased.

“This clearly indicates that the number of substitute chemical substances keeps rising—and we don’t know a lot about their effects yet, ” Kolossa-Gehring says.

It’s important with regard to people to know as much as possible regarding the chemicals they’re exposed to, Till Weber says prior to closing the particular green door of the bunker regarding the day.

“We do not want to scare anybody or even tell them to not use any plastic in their own life anymore. But all of us need in order to build an awareness of what’s around us, and, eventually, also inside our bodies. ”


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