Negative health impacts of pesticides, plastics, and synthetic chemicals in US products doubled in the past five years, according to mounting evidence. These include chemicals that are endocrine disrupting and similar materials.
This was revealed in a new study headed by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, NYU Langone environmental pediatrics chief. He says these chemicals are present in consumer products worldwide. This review was published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. The study listed studies that linked many disorders and health problems to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
According to Trasande, pesticides, methylmercury, and flame retardants containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDE, have high healthcare costs. PBDE flame retardants were found to be the largest contributor to child intellectual disability, with a present loss of IQ by 162 million points and more than 738,000 intellectual disability cases. Healthcare costs from these plastics amounted to 340 billion dollars per year in the US and around 163 billion pounds in Europe.
This shows how current US regulations are insufficient to protect the population from these chemicals. Trasande said there is now consistent and substantial evidence that these chemicals have adverse effects on health.
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Chemical products used to make life cleaner and more convenient. But it also leaches into the soil, water, air, and human bodies. They disrupt hormones and the endocrine system, negatively affecting moods, metabolism, sex, growth, tissue function, and countless other bodily functions.
The UN and the WHO have outlined 15 ways by which chemicals in pesticides, flame retardants, and plastics can affect humans. These include intellectual disability, IQ loss; autism; attention deficit disorder; obesity; low testosterone level, infertility, endometriosis, fibroids, and testicular dysfunction.
The new study adds 17 more health impacts and implicates even more chemicals. Evidence points to PFAS or polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS have been linked to the following; lesser glucose tolerance; reduced birth weights; gestational diabetes; low semen quality; obesity; endometriosis; PCOS; and breast cancer.
Other pesticides and plastics have been linked to prematurity, diabetes, lowered male anogenital distance, prostate cancer, and low semen quality. They are also linked to child attention-deficit disorder and cognitive deficits.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences or NIEHS, scientists have not been able to estimate PFAS' environmental half-life. By 2018, there were already over 4,700 kinds of PFAS, and more are being invented by industries. A 2015 CDC report has found the presence of PFAS in the blood in 97% of all Americans.
According to Trasande, simple steps can be taken to limit exposure to and be safe from endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Environmental advocacy groups also provided suggestions on how to reduce exposure.
PFAS are ingredients of water- and oil-resistant clothes, non-stick cooking utensils, stain-resistant home furniture, luggage, carpet, luggage, fast foods, microwaveable popcorn, and personal care products, as long as they are Teflon-made items, which have perfluoro- and fluoro-containing substances in their ingredients list.
Trasande advised not to buy such products. Instead, one can substitute cast iron and stainless steel. Avoid canned food as well to avoid exposure from BPA. Buy products that are glass-packaged. Steer clear of putting plastic on the microwave oven or using machine dishwasher plastics. For flame retardants, Trasande advises recirculating air and using a wet mop to suck away dust from such products.
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