Tuesday February 26, 2013
SOME of the many endocrine disrupting chemicals that have found their way into products and the environment:
Used as an anti-microbial in personal care products, household cleaners and increasingly in other consumer products such as kitchen utensils, toys, bedding, socks, wall coverings and trash bags. Little-studied but suspected to lead to reduced reproductive success in humans.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Used as flame retardants in textiles, electronics, electric articles, furniture and building materials, they have been shown to suppress the thyroid hormone and have been associated with genital malformations, such as non-descending testes (cryptorchidism) and penile malformation (hypospadias) in baby boys. In birds, they cause eggshell thinning, delayed hatching and reduced weight of hatchlings.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
Used as insulating agents in transformer oils and capacitors, as heat transfer agents, and in sealants for construction. PCBs have been linked with developmental neurotoxicity. They are also suspect in incidences of endometriosis and fibroids, and lead to immune dysfunction in marine mammals and humans.
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
Used to make plastic soft and flexible. Flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used in medical devices, toys, cables, flooring and building materials. It is also an additive in advanced ceramics for electronics and structural materials, and in printing inks, lacquers, paints, adhesives, sealants and rubber. Some personal care products such as perfumes and deodorants also contain phthalate. In Europe, the substance is no longer permitted for use in toys and childcare articles.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
This is generated during incomplete combustion of organic materials from coal-fired power plants, coke ovens and smelters, and from smoking tobacco. It is also found in barbecued food.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Used to harden plastics, it is found in food and beverage containers (including baby milk bottles) made from polycarbonate plastic, in water pipes, and in the coating of food cans (as epoxy resin). BPA is also found in some PVC plastic, and some paper products (thermal paper and recycled paper).
Cyclic methyl siloxanes
Found in some personal care products. They are incorporated to reduce drying time in some rinse-off applications like shampoos and are used as carriers for aluminum salts in antiperspirants (under the name cyclomethicone).
Several pesticides have been associated with prostate cancer (methyl bromide, chlorpyrifos, fonofos, coumaphos, phorate and permethrin) and with thyroid cancer (alachlor). Attention deficit disorder in children has been linked to elevated exposure to a variety of organophosphate pesticides. In rodents, a number of pesticides (thiourea, mancozeb, acetochlor, clofentezine, fenbuconazole, fipronil, pendimethalin, pentachloronitrobenzene, prodiamine, pyrimethanil and thiazopyr) induce thyroid tumours.
A progesterone-related chemical that is used in oral contraceptives. Little studied but detected in fish exposed to sewage effluent. Observed to cause reduced sexual activity in fish and cessation of egg-laying in the females.
Metals and chemical elements
Lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury are some of the known EDCs. Prostate cancer risks have been linked to exposure to arsenic.
Dioxins and furans
These are emitted from incomplete combustion of garbage. They inhibit estrogen action and high exposure to dioxin is a risk factor in breast cancer.
Chemicals in everyday items pose a health hazard