Family undergoes blood test survey

By Sarah ChambersTHREE generations of a family are taking part in a study aimed at providing a snapshot of how many man-made chemicals are in people's bloodstreams.

By Sarah Chambers

THREE generations of a family are taking part in a study aimed at providing a snapshot of how many man-made chemicals are in people's bloodstreams.

Patricia Collinson, 69, her daughter Karen Poll, 40, her farmer husband John Poll, 41, and their daughter Emma, 14, are to have samples of their blood analysed to find out what man-made chemicals they contain.

Samples were taken at the Polls' home in Leiston last night and the results are due back in September.

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The tests are part of a national blood-testing survey by conservation and environment body the WWF, along with the Co-operative Bank, which is supported by the Women's Institute.

They are aimed at finding out what man-made chemicals are present in three generations of seven families across Britain.

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The survey will also look at the families' lifestyles to try to establish possible ways they may be exposed to the chemicals.

Mrs Collinson, from Stanstead, who is vice-chairman of the Suffolk West Federation of Women's Institutes, said she had become involved in the campaign to try to reduce the chemicals people were exposed to.

“Because I am concerned about what we are leaving behind for our children, I became involved,” she added. “I have been a teacher and 50 years ago if you had a child with asthma it was extremely rare.”

Mrs Collinson said asthma and other allergies now appeared to be far more common.

“We can't blame it all on what we eat, so I have become very concerned,” she added. “Because my family know how keen I am that we publicise the potential dangers they were agreeable to become involved as well.”

Her daughter, Karen Poll, a secretary at Leiston Primary School, said she was interested in what the study might reveal.

But she added: “I'm trying not to think about it until we get the results back because there is no point worrying about something which may not be there.”

The WWF said it was most concerned about chemicals that were “persistent” - they do not break down and remain in the environment for a long time.

Justin Woolford, WWF chemicals and health campaign leader, added: “Most people think of hazardous chemicals as occurring in factories and being used in industry.

“There is a widespread assumption that the Government or some other relevant authority has put in place safety regulations and guidelines and that there should be nothing to worry about. This is not the case.”

Kate Daley, campaigns manager at the Co-operative Bank, said: “You don't have to work in the chemicals industry to be contaminated by man-made chemicals.

“The Co-operative Bank and our customers are particularly concerned about the effects that persistent and bio-accumulative chemicals, like the ones we're testing for, may be having not only on wildlife and ourselves, but also on future generations.

“The Poll family's blood tests will help provide a generational snapshot of the extent of chemical contamination and raise awareness of our campaign so that in future such chemicals are phased out and replaced with safer alternatives.”

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