Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content
Share this page

Support PSR!

Your membership supports PSR's work to reduce global warming, eliminate toxics in our environment and abolish nuclear weapons. YOU make our work possible. Thank you.

Donate Now »

Heat Advisory: Protecting Health on a Warming Planet
by Dr. Alan Lockwood

Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

On sale now! Enter code M17ENV25 at checkout for 25% discount.

Biomonitoring Report

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) in partnership with American Nurses Association (ANA) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) have released the “Hazardous Chemicals In Health Care” report, detailing the first investigation ever of chemicals found in the bodies of health care professionals. The inquiry found that all of the 20 participants had toxic chemicals associated with health care in their bodies.  Each participant had at least 24 individual chemicals present, four of which are on the recently released Environmental Protection Agency list of priority chemicals for regulation.  These chemicals are all associated with chronic illness and physical disorders.

For the report, PSR recruited 20 doctors and nurses from 10 states (AK, WA, OR, CA, MN, MI, ME, MA, CT and NY) to test for the presence in their bodies of chemicals known to be persistent, bioaccumulative, or are suspected toxins that are ubiquitous in the environment from the use of consumer products. Through their participation in the project, doctors and nurses educated the public and policy leaders about what is actually in their bodies. Some of the chemicals for which the healthcare professionals were tested include:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) - Used in baby bottles, plastic water bottles, linings of metal food and drink containers, and other products. It is an endocrine disruptor associated with miscarriages, prostate cancer, altered brain development and behavior, and diabetes.
  • Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) – Used as a flame retardant in products like furniture, computers, and mattresses. It is toxic at low levels and is persistent in the environment. PBDEs affect learning, memory, and behavior, as well as thyroid hormones.
  • Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) – Used in manufacturing of protective coatings for carpets and other non-stick coatings. It has the potential risk for developmental and other adverse health effects.
  • Phthalates – Used as plasticizers and found in many items from cosmetics to wood finishes. Low dose exposures affect the development of reproductive organs, potentially causing adverse health effects in fetuses and preterm babies.
  • Triclosan - Synthetic broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent which is used in hundreds of products such as toothpaste, antibacterial soaps, cosmetics, fabrics, deodorants, and plastics. Triclosan is listed as “could be” and “suspected to be” contaminated with dioxins. This chemical is very stable over long periods of time and has been shown to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and even in human breast milk.
  • Mercury – Enters the environment most commonly as a byproduct of coal combustion. This heavy metal is a neurotoxin that attacks the central nervous system and can cause brain damage. It can also pass from mother to fetus, resulting in mental retardation and autism, abnormalities of fine motor skills, impaired visual-spatial perception, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, and hyperactivity. The EPA estimates that elevated mercury levels are found in almost 16 percent of American women of childbearing age – that’s almost one out of six – placing as many as 600,000 children each year at risk for brain defects due to mercury exposure.
  • Lead – Primary exposure is from chipping paint and dust in older homes with lead paint.  It can cause anemia, miscarriages, learning disabilities, and behavior problems. There is no known safe level of lead exposure.

To read the full report, click here.

Page Updated October 9, 2013

Action Alerts

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Webinar: Health Risks of Nuclear Power

    As PSR chapters promote the transition to clean renewable energy, some are finding that nuclear power is being proposed as renewable. This webinar explores exactly why nuclear is not clean, not safe and not renewable. Read more »

  • Fracking Compendium 5 Water Excerpt

    Given the timely and important consideration of the issue by state officials in Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with Concerned Health Professionals of New York, has released excerpts from the upcoming Fifth Edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. Released in Miami in advance of the full report, this new document contains an up-to-date analysis and compilation of the science on water contamination risks from drilling, fracking, and associated activities. Read more »

  • Natural Gas: Not a healthy or climate-protective solution for the Clean Power Plan

    Building natural gas plants to replace coal-fired power is not a solution to the climate crisis; it merely replaces one fossil fuel with another. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • April 28, 2018
    2018 Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship Awards Ceremony
    Join Oregon PSR to celebrate the high school student winners of this year's scholarship. Featuring keynote speaker Marshallese anti-nuclear and climate activist and poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. April 28 at 6 pm in Portland, Oregon.