'Acceptable' levels of toxins

Don Saunders don-saunders at worldnet.att.net
Sat Sep 27 10:25:53 EST 1997


Wendy,

Your posting has been here for several days.  I am surprised no one else
has responded.  The levels you are reporting translate into parts per
billion or ppb.  For the most part, do not seem unusual.  DDT is
probably ubiquitous in the population and will probably remain so for
the next several decades at least.  By HCB, I presume you mean
hexachlorobenzene which used to be an ingredient in pHisohex, a
disinfectant antibacterial cleansing agent.  It was commonly used in
hospitals to clean newborns until the late '70s.  It is primarily a
hazard to newborns and infants as, in them, it easily enters the brain. 
It is of less concern to adults.  PCBs are probably also detectable in
most of the population.  Lindane, also a chlorinated benzene, is nearly
as persistent as DDT.  Like DDT, I do not believe it is currently in use
(but I'm not positive, you could ask the Office of Pesticide Programs at
the EPA).  Mirex has not been used for many years.  Pentachlorophenol
was used as a wood preservative (pressure treated lumber, etc.)  Its use
on wood used in the interior of homes was banned in the early '80s. 
Toxiphene and carbaryl are insecticides which, I believe, are still in
use.  I'm not sure they are registered for use on food crops (again, the
EPA could tell you).  Your husband's exposure to most of these chemicals
probably occurred 15-20 years ago or longer.  Personnally, I would be
very concerned about them.  Most of the chemicals you list are very
persistent (do not degrade rapidly) and most (with the possible
exception of toxaphene and the exception of carbaryl) have been out of
use in this country, certainly on food crops for over 15 years. 
Furthermore, I do not believe hexachlorobenzene, or pentachlorophenol
were ever used on crops.  PCBs were not used on crops, but did
contaminate animal feed due to improper storage.  Thousands of food
animals were destroyed in Michigan in the '70s as a result.  PCBs were
primarily used as an insulating fluid in electrical transformers. 
Lindane was used as a crack & crevice spray to control insects in animal
housing and thus may have been present in meat.  Because of the
ubiquitous nature of DDT, I would not be surprised if it were detectable
in some cod liver oil.  However, there are legal limits as to the levels
allowable.

If you wish to contact the EPA, I suggest you try Dr. Karen Hamernik at:

hamernik.karen at epamail.epa.gov

She may not have all the answers but she should be able to direct you to
the proper source.

I hope this information is of some use to you.

Donald R. Saunders, Ph. D.
Wendy Joint wrote:
> 
> My husband is carrying various toxins in his blood seum
> (chromatography). Some were said to be within 'acceptable' levels and
> others gave some cause for concern. Can anyone tell me where I can
> find information about the currently perceived 'acceptable' levels of
> the following toxic chemicals.
> 
> Also, could anyone hazard a guess as to whether it would be possible
> to pick up toxins at these sort of levels purely from food or vitamin
> supplements such as cod liver oil. I have given the levels he is said
> to be carrying in micrograms/litre.
> 
> Lindane                 7.9
> DDT                     4.4
> HCB                     5.7
> Mirex                   1.2
> Toxaphene               3.4
> PCBs                    0.8
> Pentachlorophenol       2.7
> Cararyl (Sevin)         1.9
> 
> Please reply by email to wendy.joint at virgin.net



More information about the Toxicol mailing list