Plastics and their derivatives are in our blood, everyone's blood. There's no avoiding them. Wallace Nichols PhD, writing for the Huffington Post says:1
"Once inside us they can poison us or cause cancer, neurological damage, endometriosis and birth defects, as well as liver and kidney damage."Nicholas Kristof, writing last week for the New York Times says:2
"Endocrine disruptors ... are often similar to estrogen and may fool the body into setting off hormonal changes. This used to be a fringe theory, but it is now being treated with great seriousness by the Endocrine Society, the professional association of hormone specialists in the United States.The Endocrine Society is typically conservative, that is, until this summer when they went on record with a 50-page document outlining their concern over environmental pollutants:
These endocrine disruptors are found in everything from certain plastics to various cosmetics."
"There is growing interest in the possible health threat posed by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are substances in our environment, food, and consumer products."What to do? Here's one thing Kristof is doing:
- Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement, Endocrine Reviews, June 2009
"My weekend project is to go through containers in our house and toss out 3’s, 6’s and 7’s."You might also stock the fridge with mushrooms and grapes. Or stop using hair and body products that contain parabens. Or steer clear of yards doused with pesticides and herbicides. Or, well, just type "xenoestrogens" into Google.
But managing and reducing environmental EDCs is going to take action from bigger players. I wrote in June:
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the lead here. They initiated a testing program (from a 1996 Congressional go-ahead) and in April (2009) are still publishing lists of chemicals, mostly pesticide ingredients, to be screened "to determine whether certain substances may have hormonal effects."Here's the EPA's Endocrine Disruptor site.
Given the Endocrine Society's evidence-filled warning, I think we need to set a fire under the EPA's screening activities. Thirteen years seems like a long time to still be making lists. Although I can see that having reps from "agrichemical companies" and "commodity chemical companies" on the EPA's Validation Task Force might slow things down."
2 Nicholas Kristof: Cancer From the Kitchen?