Squeezing Blood From A Stone: Chemicals In Our Politicians
Imagine what would happen in the States if some pinko environmental group went to Senators and Secretaries and asked for blood, to be tested for toxins. Canada's Environmental Defence did just that, and didn't just get the usual treehugging leftie suspects like NDP leader Jack Layton, but the much-reviled Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose, the Conservative Minister of Health Tony Clement, and prominent liberal John Godfrey. The results were shocking. From Environmental Defence:
Expert laboratories in Quebec and British Columbia tested the blood samples from each politician for pollutants that fall under seven broad groups: PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls); stain repellents and non-stick chemicals (known as PFCs, or perfluorinated chemicals); organochlorine pesticides (such as DDT); organophosphate insecticide metabolites (such as the breakdown products of malathion); heavy metals (such as mercury and lead); air pollutants called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons); and flame retardants (PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers). Many of the pollutants discovered in the politicians’ bodies are associated with cancer, developmental problems, respiratory illnesses, damage to the nervous system and hormone disruption.
The study found that Ambrose had fewer flame-retardants in her blood than Layton, but had a higher level of arsenic than the New Democrat leader.
Clement's blood, meanwhile, contains polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, despite the fact they have been banned for years. But Clement's blood was lower in neurotoxic mercury than Godfrey's.
Godfrey, the report found, had the highest number of pollutants in his blood, at 55. Clement and Layton followed with 54 toxic contaminants each and Ambrose had the cleanest blood with 49 contaminants.
Of the 103 pollutants tested for, 61 were detected in the four politicians.
Combined, their blood contained a chilling mix of nasty substances, including 54 carcinogens, 37 hormone disruptors, 16 respiratory toxins, 54 reproductive or developmental toxins and 33 neurotoxins.
"The conclusion we draw is that is doesn't matter where you live in Canada, it doesn't matter what you do for a living, it doesn't matter how old you are, and in the case of these four politicians, it doesn't matter how powerful you are."::Environmental Defence