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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Endocrine distruptors

The endocrine system is a network of glands and chemicals that moderate and control various bodily functions such as growth. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are natural or man-made chemicals that act just like hormones in the body, or they interfere with hormones in the body. EDC can trigger a cell into action, or prevent a cell from an action. Soy products have an EDC that acts like estrogen, and women with breast cancer that is sensitive to estrogen are advised to stay away from all soy. Many plastics that touch food and drinks also contain BPA, another EDC. Over the past 50 years there has been an increase in plastic usage, and an increase in certain types of cancers and EDC-sensitive conditions: breast cancer, prostate cancer, ectopic pregnancies, undescended testicles, and sperm counts lowered by 42% between 1940 and 1990. (Feb 25, 2010 statement by HHS representative Linda S. Birnbaum, director of NIEHS.)

Problems continue even after exposure has ceased, and low doses also cause problems, especially in growing children. Some EDCs you are exposed to, that studies found correlated with negative effects:
  1. Aroclor 1221. 
  2. BPA and other phthalates. Found in many, many plastics including the linings of metal cans.
  3. Arsenic. Affects 5 steroid receptors: glucocorticoid, androgen, progesterone, mineralocorticoid, and estrogen hormones.
  4. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Fire retardant found in fabrics.
  5. Benzophenone-3.
  6. Monoethyl-phthalate. 
  7. Triclosan also showed very high activity in multiple assays. It's found in antibiotic soap.
  8. Butylparaben. A preservative used in cosmetics.
  9. Oxybenzone. A sunscreen ingredient.
  10. Supplements such as gum guggul, Dong Quai, and valerian.  
  11. Dioxin. The Endometriosis Research Center says tampons, and baby diapers contain dioxin. From the FDA: Small amounts of dioxin were found in 4 lots of tampons.
  12. PCBs.
  13. DDT and some other pesticides.
  14. DES. A synthetic estrogen given to women from the 1950s to the 1970s if they were having a threat of a miscarriage, or excessive morning sickness. It was discontinued as a pregnancy drug in 1971.
  15. Tributyltin. An anti-fouling agent used in the paint for boats.
  16. Parabens. In cosmetics, anti-perspirants.

In 2012 the WHO wrote a report with the UNEP (UN Environment Program) called "State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals". The report said that EDCs might have to be banned to protect people. Europe is often on the forefront of positive bans like this, while America is usually the last to do so.

But the Endocrine Society even made a statement about strong evidence for EDCs being dangerous.
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. - See more at: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/er.2015-1093#sthash.cfOc1YtV.dpuf
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. - See more at: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/er.2015-1093#sthash.cfOc1YtV.dpuf
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. - See more at: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/er.2015-1093#sthash.cfOc1YtV.dpuf
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information.
What they also said: "Low doses matter." This is a key concept industry continues to deny.

There is a lot of information to read, I couldn't possibly post it all here, so here are some links for you if you are interested in reading more. 

Links

  1. Feb 25, 2010 statement by HHS rep Linda S. Birnbaum, director of NIEHS. This mentions more studies about the correlation of EDs and behavioral and growth problems.
  2. Mercola page of top 12 EDCs. 2013.
  3. State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. Summary is 38 pgs. WHO and UNEP. 2012. 
  4. NIH page on endocrine disruptors.  
  5. A PDF on what the NIH knows about EDCs. 4 pages. 
  6. NIH endocrine disruptor studies. 15 pages. Looks like studies from 2006-2008. 
  7. E.Hormone. A gateway website to more info on EDCs in the environment. From Tulane Univ.
  8. DES site from CDC. With links to studies for DES Sons, DES Daughters. DES was used as a synthetic estrogen therapy from the 1940s through the 1970s. It is linked to increased cancers for men and women like cervical cancer, and testicular cancer. 
  9. Executive Summary on EDCs. August 2015. Endocrine Society.

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