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Test results on toxins in NZ

September 19, 2018

Worried about toxins? You should be. Following are the results of the first comprehensive New Zealand monitoring program from 2014 - 2016 on selected chemicals of concern.

 

Blood and urine samples of 319 adults (aged 19 – 65) and 303 children (aged 5 – 18) were tested for exposure to toxins.

 

Every single person tested had Lead, Fluoride, Phthalates, Parabens and Benzophenone-3 in their bodies. Nearly everyone had Mercury, Cadmium, Thallium, Antimony and BPA in their bodies.  

 

Mercury levels were about double the average reported for US, Canada and Germany. Some phthalates levels were sky-high - especially in women and children.

 

All of these toxins contribute to ill health. It's not just a matter of eating clean - there are so many toxins in our water, air, soil, beauty products, household detergents, fabrics, plastics and many other things. You need to be aware of what's in all of the products you buy to minimize your exposure to those chemicals.

 

Below see the percentage and levels of detected chemicals. Levels are measured in µg/L.

 

Lead:

The blood lead concentrations for adults and children in New Zealand were comparable with the average levels reported for the US and Canada, although for these countries a downward trend over time has been observed with the most recent results indicating concentrations below those observed for New Zealand.

 

Mercury:

The average levels for blood mercury in New Zealanders was approximately double the average reported for US, Canada and Germany. The New Zealand average levels were comparable to those reported for France, and lower than that reported for Korea.

 

Arsenic:

Urinary levels of inorganic arsenic in adult New Zealanders were comparable to those reported for the US and Canada while below those reported for Spain. Levels in children were below those reported for the US.

 

Cadmium:

The average levels of urinary cadmium concentrations of New Zealanders were comparable to those reported for US and Europe, and lower than that reported for Canada, for both adults and children.

 

Chromium:

The New Zealand average levels for urinary chromium were below those reported for France and Belgium. Comparisons with the US and Canada could not be made.

 

Thallium:

New Zealand urinary thallium concentrations in adults were similar to those reported for Canada, France and Belgium, and higher than those reported for the US. For children the New Zealand levels were lower than those reported for the US.

 

Antimony:

New Zealand urinary antimony concentrations in adults were similar to those reported for France and marginally higher than levels most recently reported for Belgium, US and Canada. New Zealand urinary antimony concentrations in children were also above those most recently reported for the US and Canada.

 

Fluoride:

Concentrations of fluoride in New Zealand adults are marginally higher than those reported for Canada, but comparable to those reported for Brazil and Japan.

 

BPA:

The urinary BPA concentrations for New Zealand were comparable to those reported for Australia, US and Canada, although the most recent GMs reported for the US and Canada were below those of New Zealand, for both adults and children.

 

Phthalates:

Urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites in New Zealanders were largely comparable with those reported for other countries, with one possible exception i.e. for both adults and children the urinary concentrations of mBP, a metabolite of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), appeared to be higher than those reported for several other countries, but were comparable to the levels reported for Australia.            

  • The following phthalate metabolites were detected in the majority of samples: mEP, mBP, mBzP, mEHP, mEOHP, mEHHP, mCPP.

  • The following phthalate metabolites had very low detection frequencies: mMP, mCHP, miNP.

  • The highest urinary concentrations were measured for monobutyl phthalate (mBP, n+iso), a metabolite of dibutyl phthalate (DBP, n+iso), commonly used as a plasticiser and other applications. The geometric mean was 37 µg/L for adults and 61 µg/L for children.

  • For the DEHP metabolites mEHP, mEOHP and mEHHP, also commonly used as plasticisers, the geometric means for adults and children were 2 and 3, 7 and 14, 9 and 18 µg/L, respectively.

  • For mBzP and mCPP, metabolites of the plasticisers BBzP and DOP, the geometric means of urinary concentrations for adults and children were 4 and 8, 2 and 3 µg/L, respectively.

  • For mEP, a metabolite of DEP which is commonly used in personal care products, food packaging and pharmaceuticals, the geometric mean was 19 µg/L for adults and 13 µg/L for children.

  • For the metabolites of phthalates commonly used as plasticisers, the highest concentrations were observed for the youngest age groups. Associations with sex, ethnicity or region were not observed.

  • For mEP, a metabolite of DEP which is commonly used in personal care products, concentrations were positively associated with age, and higher for women compared to men.

Parabens:

New Zealand methylparaben levels were lower than those reported for the US, and comparable to the levels reported for China, Belgium, Greece and Australia.

 

Benzophenone-3:

New Zealand BP-3 levels were comparable to those reported for the US, and higher than those reported for Belgium, India and Australia.

 

Triclosan:

The urinary triclosan concentrations for New Zealand were generally below those reported for the US and Canada, and comparable to those reported for Australia.

 

 

 

 

Report by Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington from March 2018.

To read the full report, click here.

 

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