CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It is the number one best seller on Amazon.com and was also one of the most-discounted items on Cyber Monday. Lawmakers, however, are warning that if you take a home DNA test, beware of where your DNA could end up.
For years, people have turned to home DNA test kits to help find distant relatives, learn about their true ethnicity and discover genetic health conditions. To use one, all you have to do is spit in a container and then drop your saliva into the mail and send back to the company. Within several weeks, your results pop-up in your email inbox.
But while the test gives answers to many, its drawing questions from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
In a news conference Sunday morning, Senator Schumer brought to the light that several of the most popular genetic testing companies including Ancestry, 23andMe and MyHeritage do not have clear terms-of-service agreements and he’s concerned they could be selling the DNA to third parties.
“Here's what many consumers don't realize, that their sensitive information can end up in the hands of unknown third-party companies," he said. "There are no prohibitions, and many companies say that they can still sell your information to other companies."
"Now, this is sensitive information, and what those companies can do with all that data, our sensitive and deepest information, your genetics, is not clear and in some cases not fair and not right," he added.
During the news conference, Senator Schumer said he is asking the Federal Trade Commission to look at these company’s policies to make sure they are fair and the consumer is protected.
Senator Schumer argues if the DNA is sold, employers and health insurance companies could use your genetic health information to discriminate.
Since Sunday, spokespeople for Ancestry, 23andMe and MyHeritage have issued statements saying they do not, or have not sold DNA to third parties.
Schumer, however, pointed out that Ancestry’s fine print tells customers it reserves the right to, “communicate your genetic information for the purposes of providing products and services.”
On their website, it says you can ask for your DNA and personal file to be deleted at any time.