This may not come as a huge surprise, but life is different for the rich and the poor. Rich people relax by eating oysters. Poor people relax by smoking cigarettes. At least that’s what we’re led to believe based on a new study about how the presence of certain chemicals can indicate how rich or poor a person is.
New research from the University of Exeter looks at the association of 18 different chemicals in the body and socioeconomic status. Long story short, everybody’s bodies are full of poison. Rich people poison just comes from fancier sources. People from higher socioeconomic status showed higher levels of mercury, arsenic and benzophenone-3. Researchers think that the first two come from higher consumption of shellfish and seafood, whereas the benzophenone-3 likely comes from sunscreen.
The chemical profiles of people from lower socioeconomic status are completely different. Their bodies are full of lead, cadmium and different types of plastics. These chemicals could come from cigarette smoke but likely come from poor diet. The research is bolstered by an earlier study from Boston University that found higher levels of Bisphenol-A in poor people’s bodies, perhaps from consuming more canned food than the rich.
When you take a step back and think about it, the split makes sense. Lead researcher Jessica Tyrrell uses the “you are what you eat” adage to illustrate the point and goes on to explain how the different chemicals tell us a lot about the development of heart disease and diabetes among the poor. It’s certainly a better way to tell than checking for bruises from repeatedly diving into a gold-coin-filled vault. [Environment International via Motherboard]