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More Negative News About Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

More and more studies are finding negative health effects from hormone disrupting chemicals (which we are exposed to every single day, and subsequently which are in all of us), such as parabens, phthalates, Bisphenol-A (BPA), and chemical substitutes for BPA such as Bisphenol-S (BPS) and BPF. The following are a few recent studies and one article from my files. Also check out the other endocrine disrupting chemical studies I've posted (SEARCH: 'endocrine disruptors', and 'phthalates').

Bottom line: Read labels and try to minimize plastics in personal care products (e.g., lotion) and your food if possible (e.g., choose glass, stainless steel, wax paper, aluminum foil). This is especially important during pregnancy.  Even BPA alternatives (labeled BPA-free) should be viewed as the same as BPA - as endocrine disruptors. In other words, currently there are no good BPA substitutes. Don't microwave food in a plastic dish or container, or covered with plastic wrap. Eat fresh foods rather than packaged, processed foods. From Newsweek:

BPA Is Fine, If You Ignore Most Studies About It

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is either a harmless chemical that’s great for making plastic or one of modern society’s more dangerous problems. Depends whom you ask. BPA is in many types of plastics and the epoxy resins that line most aluminum cans, as well as thermal papers like receipts. It is an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen, a hormone especially important in sexual development, and the fact that it’s all over the place worries many people. Newsweek spoke with about 20 scientists, leaders in the field of BPA research, and the majority say it is likely (though not certain) that the chemical plays a role in a litany of health concerns: obesity, diabetes, problems with fertility and reproductive organs, susceptibility to various cancers and cognitive/behavioral deficits like ADHD

But the plastic industry, researchers it funds and, most important, many regulatory agencies—including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)—say BPA is safe for humans at the levels people are exposed to....The use of BPA has continued to grow in the past few decades. As of 2012, 10 billion pounds of the material were produced worldwide, with a total estimated 2013 market value of more than $13 billion....Every day, the manufacture and sale of BPA brings in tens of millions of dollars.

But scientists suggest that might be offset by a large, hidden cost: its impact on human health. To date, there have been around 1,000 animal studies on BPA, and the vast majority show that it causes or is linked to many health problems, from alterations in fertility to increased risk for cancers and cardiovascular problems to impaired brain development, says Frederick vom Saal, a longtime researcher of the product at the University of Missouri-Columbia. For that reason, scientists have conducted about 100 human epidemiological studies to look at the patterns of health and disease in real-life settings. These too show a correlation between exposure to BPA and the aforementioned ailments.

Scientists are particularly worried about exposure to the developing fetus and infants. When the fetal brain is first developing, it is most vulnerable to endocrine disruptors like BPA, research has shown. And animal studies have suggested early exposure to BPA has a significant impact on the brain and other organs. Some epidemiological research does too. Brown University epidemiologist Joseph Braun, for example, has shown a link between early childhood exposure to BPA and later behavioral problems....Several dozen studies in the past five years or so have found average human blood serum levels of BPA in the low range, around 1 part per billion (ppb). Many of the negative health effects in animal studies have been shown to occur at these levels, says Laura Vandenberg, who researches endocrine disruptors at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

....the American Chemistry Council—a trade group that represents companies that manufacture chemicals like BPA. The council has funded other studies on BPA, and they’ve all concluded that the chemical has no harmful effects. One 2006 analysis by vom Saal and Wade Welshons showed that 11 out of 11 industry-funded studies found BPA had no significant action, while 109 of 119 studies that had no industry funding (92 percent) did find effects of BPA.....“I think there’s a strong influence among the chemical industries and their lobbyists—they have the money and time,” Gore says, adding that researchers have very little of both. In 2013, for example, the American Chemistry Council spent more than $11 million on lobbying expenses, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Industry groups have also funded, and in some cases written up, research done by governmental scientists. One 2008 investigation, by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, found that “a government report claiming that bisphenol-A is safe was written largely by the plastics industry and others with a financial stake in the controversial chemical.”

Despite the FDA’s continued support of BPA, the chemical is already being replaced on the market due to consumer concerns—but with substances such as bisphenol-S that behave similarly, and may even be worse in some ways.

From News-Medical: Chemicals used in plastics linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes in children and adolescents

According to a new series of studies out of NYU Langone Medical Center, two chemicals increasingly used during manufacturing to strengthen plastic wrap, soap, cosmetics, and processed food containers have been linked to a rise in risk of high blood pressure and diabetes in children and adolescents.The compounds, di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), are both in a class of chemicals known as phthalates. Ironically, the two chemicals were used as replacements for another chemical, di-2-ethylhexylphlatate, or DEHP, which the same researchers proved in previous research to have similar adverse effects.

From Environmental Health News: BPA linked to low birth weights in baby girls

Girls born to mothers with high levels of BPA in their system during the first trimester of pregnancy weigh less at birth than babies with lower exposure, according to a new studyThe study adds to evidence that fetal exposure to the ubiquitous chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) may contribute to fetal developmental problems....Bottom line: more BPA in woman’s blood meant babies weighed less. For every doubling in free, or unconjugated, BPA in the mothers’ first-term blood, babies weighed, on average, 6.5 ounces less. 

A study released this month out of China found BPA levels in mothers’ urine was linked to low birth weights. That study also found a much stronger association with baby girls.

From Science Daily: Phthalates potentially alter levels of a pregnancy hormone that influences sex development

Exposure to hormone-altering chemicals called phthalates -- which are found in many plastics, foods and personal care products -- early in pregnancy is associated with a disruption in an essential pregnancy hormone and adversely affects the masculinization of male genitals in the baby, according to new research. The findings focus on the role of the placenta in responding to these chemicals and altering levels of a key pregnancy hormone.

From Environmental Health Perspectives:  Vinyl flooring chemical linked to high blood pressure during pregnancy

Pregnant? Beware of the vinyl flooring. Chemicals often used in vinyl flooring and PVC may make pregnant women more susceptible to heart diseases, according to a new study. It builds on other studies that concluded that certain phthalates, also found in plastics, cosmetics, fragrances and—by extension, most of us—may impact heart health. The researchers looked at phthalate levels in the urine of 369 pregnant women during their pregnancy. They also monitored blood pressure and any pregnancy-induced heart problems. The body breaks down phthalates into metabolites. Researchers found that women with the highest levels of a common phthalate metabolite were almost three times as likely to have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure than women with the lowest levels.

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