Body Chemistry

A recent study shows that toxic pollutants have found a new hiding place in Oregon—us.

By Julian Smith May 19, 2009 Published in the February 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

Pollution fkfbay

WE OREGONIANS like to fancy ourselves a particularly healthy bunch. For example, Portland claims some of the country’s cleanest drinking water (Bull Run Watershed) and best air quality (No. 2 out of the 50 biggest cities). But a recent Oregon Environmental Council study suggests we’re overrating ourselves. “Pollution in People” revealed that the 10 Oregonians who had their blood and urine tested each harbored an average of 12 out of 29 common toxic chemicals. Don’t load up the Subaru for Iceland just yet, though—the sample size was tiny, and most of the toxin levels were still well below EPA standards. Still, it does put a bit of a dent in our collective ego—and our wallet: In January another OEC study estimated that illnesses caused by environmental factors cost the state more than $1.57 billion every year. As a result, the OEC in 2009 will lobby state legislators to require manufacturers to spill more about the nasty stuff their products contain, like these four major culprits found in the blood and urine of nearly all the volunteers.

Filed under