Residues of dangerous chemicals can store in body fat. stress, heat, physical exertion or other factors can cause them to be released from fat and to circulate through the body, creating new exposures.
The chemicals that first responders encounter add to the general body burden that is a fact of modern life—an estimated 700 xenobiotic (foreign to the body) chemicals are present in the fat tissue of Americans.*
Although much research has been devoted to establishing “acceptable” levels for these residues, none of these substances truly belong in the body. Not surprisingly, a steadily growing body of scientific data is demonstrating that body accumulations of chemicals are responsible for a range of health problems.
*Onston J, Ayling R, Stanley J., Characterization of HRGC/MS Unidentified Peaks from the Analysis of Human Adipose Tissue.Vol I: Technical Approach. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Toxic Substances (560/6-87-002a), 1987.