Boston Magazine - Crowdfunded Study Lets You Test Your Exposure to Common Chemicals

December 12, 2016

By: Jaime Ducharme

Excerpt: You may know your blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol levels. But do you know if you’ve been exposed to triclosan? What about butyl paraben? Bisphenol A?

The above are three of the 10 most common household chemicals, but most of us have no idea if they’ve built up in our bodies. The Silent Spring Institute, a Newton-based environmental health research group, wants to change that.

The Silent Spring Institute has for years studied individuals’ exposure to toxins. Slowly but surely, Director of Research Ruthann Rudel noticed a trend. “Increasingly, we were picking up on the fact that there was a lot of demand [for testing] from other people who weren’t in the studies,” Rudel says. 

Rudel and her team decided to lean into that demand. This week, Silent Spring launched a crowdfunded study—believed to be the first of its kind—on Indiegogo. For $299, supporters can purchase a “Detox Me” kit, which includes the supplies for a urine test that detects 10 potentially harmful household chemicals in the body, and the means to ship the sample back to Silent Spring’s research team. Participants will also take an online survey about lifestyle habits and potential sources of exposure.

When the findings are tabulated, individuals will get access to their results as compared to the entire study population, information about the chemicals analyzed and how they affect health, and suggestions for reducing toxicity.

Everyday Chemical Exposures