Subscribe

Vitruvian Man, Endocrine Disruptors
Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Leonardo Da Vinci / Wikimedia and UN.

Welcome to Saturday Hashtag, a weekly place for broader context.

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Why are artificial endocrine disruptors everywhere now?! 

In 1900, the total amount of human-manufactured materials made up only 3 percent of the Earth’s total organic mass. This manufactured material now exceeds the total volume of Earth’s organic mass by more than 100 percent.

But what is especially concerning is what the last 75 years of manufactured material contains: endocrine disruptors. 

These are chemicals — PFAs, PFOs, and BPAs (the main categories) — and they interfere, dangerously, with critical hormone functions that control nearly every aspect of your body’s function: growth, reproduction, metabolism, heart rate, and much more. They have been found in the brain, womb, ovaries, and testicles. In fact, they affect the cell function of all life — animals, plants, biologic functions like pollination, procreation, photosynthesis, etc.

And they are impossible to avoid. They are in all US and global consumer goods and from the Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean to the polar ice caps. They are in our soil, our food, our drinking water, the rain, in surface water, groundwater, wastewater, and the water that filters through landfills. 

They are in everyday nonfood items, like Band-Aids, shaving razors, etc., and all of the packaging for these products (including the metal cans containing food and beverages), and even in the thermal paper used for the receipts. These chemicals consist of carbon atomic structures that have never existed on the Earth before — and they last forever. 

Many manufacturers stopped using these chemicals — but did no long-term testing of the alternative chemicals they are using. They could be just as harmful.

The scope of this problem and the cumulative impact of these materials on cell function present a significant threat to human health.

Government agencies like the FDA continuously fail to protect the public from these underregulated chemicals, so individuals need to manage their own exposures by actively staying informed and alert

Rule # 1: Never use materials with EDs for food or beverage preparation, especially around heat.

Plastic Containers Can Contain PFAs — And It’s Getting Into Food 

From Notre Dame News: “Researchers at the University of Notre Dame are adding to their list of consumer products that contain PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), a toxic class of fluorine compounds known as ‘forever chemicals.’ In a new study published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic containers — used for household cleaners, pesticides, personal care products and, potentially, food packaging — tested positive for PFAS. Following a report conducted by the EPA that demonstrated this type of container contributed high levels of PFAS to a pesticide, this research demonstrates the first measurement of the ability of PFAS to leach from the containers into food as well as the effect of temperature on the leaching process.”

Nearly 10,000 Chemicals Leaching From Plastic Containers Into Food, Alarming Study Reveals

The author writes, “It might be time to ditch plastic containers and zip lock bags to store your food. New research finds that those everyday food packaging materials are leaching a cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals right into your food. In fact, researchers in Norway say they uncovered nearly 10,000 different chemicals in a single food packaging product!”

Concerns Raised Over Health Effects of Chemicals Leaching From Food Packaging

The author writes, “Everyday plastic food packaging contains chemicals that can disrupt the working of human cells, two new studies from a Norwegian group reveal. The effects include interfering with cell receptors that are crucial for hormonal and metabolic control, as well as our body clock.”

Plastic Food Packaging Contains Thousands of Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals: Study

The author writes, “Plastic food packaging contains chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system — and that can leach into food, a new study has found. Once there, these chemicals can mimic — or disrupt — the effects of the hormones estrogen and testosterone on the body, according to the study. … The scientists analyzed 36 types of plastic food and drink packaging across five countries with high usage of single-use plastic: the U.S. U.K., Germany, South Korea and Norway. These ranged from Ziploc-style bags and yogurt containers to hydration bladders and chewing gum containers. Not all plastics had equal impacts on the nuclei of cells that researchers exposed to them.”

BPA, Phthalates ‘Widespread’ in Supermarket Foods, Regardless of Packaging, Consumer Report Says

The author writes, “Looking to reduce your exposure to plasticizers [this] year? Contrary to what you might think, shopping organic and avoiding plastic food packaging isn’t a surefire way to avoid harmful chemicals such as BPA and phthalates. According to new research from Consumer Reports, phthalates and bisphenols — two chemicals linked to various health risks such as diabetes and hormone disruption — are ‘widespread’ among supermarket staples and fast foods, regardless of their packaging and ingredients and whether or not they are certified organic.”

BPA and the Controversy About Plastic Food Containers

From the National Capital Poison Center: “Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to harden plastic, is found in a number of consumer products, including hard plastic drinking containers and the linings of infant formula and food cans. In animal studies, BPA imitates the effects of estrogen. There is controversy about whether animal studies are relevant to humans. Some scientists and consumers suggest reducing exposure to BPA.”

Food Packaging and Endocrine Disruptors

From the National Library of Medicine: “Packaging, especially those made from plastic or recycled material, is an important source of food contamination by endocrine disruptors. Bisphenols and phthalates are the endocrine disruptors most frequently associated with food contamination from packaging. However, many unknown substances and even those legally authorized can cause harm to health when exposure is prolonged or when substances with additive effects are mixed. Furthermore, the discarding of packaging can cause contamination to continue into the environment.”

A Review Of The Occurrence, Metabolites And Health Risks Of Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

The author writes, “Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is mainly used as a food additive due to its antioxidant properties, which prevent or delay oxidation reactions and extend the storage life of products. The widespread use of BHA has led to its extensive presence in various environmental matrices and human tissues.”

Author

Comments are closed.