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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 01:47 GMT
Blood tests show chemical toxins
Blood bag
Blood tests were carried out across the UK
A number of toxic man-made chemicals were found in the blood of every person tested during a survey by an environmental pressure group.

Environmental pressure group WWF said the ContamiNATION study discovered traces which ranged from pesticides to the chemicals added to some paints and fire retardants.

Eleven Scots - including two MSPs - were among 155 people tested in the UK.

Politicians have backed calls for action and Green MSPs want a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament.

The tests commissioned by WWF looked for the presence of 77 different chemicals.

An average of 27 were found in the blood of each person tested across the UK, with readings ranging from nine to 49.

Stricter testing

WWF said long-banned substances such as DDT, which has been associated with cancers and nervous and immune system disorders, were still being found.

The European Parliament is bringing in new regulations to ensure thousands of chemicals are subjected to stricter testing.

However, the WWF wants to ensure that hazardous materials are phased out or banned altogether.

WWF's survey shows that our bodies are being used as toxic chemical dumps
Dr Richard Dixon
WWF Scotland
Labour MSP Sarah Boyack and the Scottish National Party's Christine Grahame, who underwent blood tests, are set to take part in the Scottish launch of the results.

Dr Richard Dixon, head of policy for WWF Scotland said, "There is very little information available about the safety and health risks posed by the vast majority of chemicals in use.

"We just don't know what might be considered a safe level of exposure to these chemicals, especially when they persist in the body for long periods and react together inside the body in a potentially dangerous cocktail.

"WWF's survey shows that our bodies are being used as toxic chemical dumps."

He said there was a mixed picture in Scotland, with some volunteers recording low scores.

However, one Scot was found to have the second highest level of PCB contamination in the UK.

Flame retardants are found on everyday furniture
Dr Dixon said some of the chemicals came from everyday materials such as paints, glues, toys, electrical goods, furniture, carpets and clothes.

"Our contaminated blood is proof that it's time for the government and chemical companies to phase out the production and use of these chemicals and develop new safe alternatives," he said.

Green MSPs have lodged a motion at Holyrood calling for a parliamentary inquiry.

Health spokeswoman Eleanor Scott said: "It is important that such a serious issue for Scottish health is debated in the Scottish Parliament.

"For the sake of today's children and for future generations it is vital that we make the law as tough as possible to stop this ongoing contamination in everyday life.

"What is so alarming is that it is everyday products, things people find it almost impossible to avoid, as well as a legacy from the past that is contaminating people."

Politicians tested for toxins
30 Jun 03  |  Scotland
WWF rapped for 'alarming' advert
07 Aug 02  |  UK News

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