START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

UN, WHO Panel Calls Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals a 'Global Threat'


Health & Wellness  (tags: animals, environment, healthconditions, nature, humans, pollution, protection, research, science, wildlife, world, abuse, ethics, health, medicine, investigation, prevention, society, treatment, warning, illness )

JL
- 548 days ago - environmentalhealthnews.org
An international team of experts reported today that evidence linking hormone-mimicking chemicals to human health problems has grown stronger over the past decade, becoming a "global threat" that should be addressed



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Comments

JL A. (275)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 9:43 am
UN, WHO panel calls hormone-disrupting chemicals a 'global threat'

An international team of experts reported today that evidence linking hormone-mimicking chemicals to human health problems has grown stronger over the past decade, becoming a "global threat" that should be addressed. The report is a joint effort by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to give policymakers the latest information on chemicals that seem to mess with the hormones of people and wildlife. Much has changed since 2002, when the organizations released a report that called the evidence “weak.” The panel of 16 scientists from 10 nations found that endocrine-related diseases and disorders are on the rise. There is now “emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes” and “mounting evidence" for effects on thyroids, brains and metabolism, the report summary says.

ShareThis



Observe The Banana/flickr
Seals in the Baltic Sea have long struggled with PCBs, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

By Brian Bienkowski
Environmental Health News

Feb. 19, 2013

An international team of experts reported today that evidence linking hormone-mimicking chemicals to human health problems has grown stronger over the past decade, becoming a "global threat" that should be addressed.

The report is a joint effort by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to give policymakers the latest information on chemicals that alter the hormones of people and wildlife.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Thomas Zoeller, who studies how environmental chemicals affect thyroid hormones, said diseases related to the endocrine system are on the rise.
Much has changed since 2002, when the organizations released a report that called the evidence linking the chemicals to human health impacts “weak.”

The panel of 16 scientists from 10 nations in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia found that endocrine-related diseases and disorders are on the rise. There is now “emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes” and “mounting evidence" for effects on thyroids, brains and metabolism, according to the report summary.

“Over the past decade, we know much better that chronic diseases, ones related to the endocrine system, are increasing globally,” said Thomas Zoeller, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a co-author of the report.

Such diseases include male reproductive problems, pregnancy complications, certain cancers, obesity and brain development. Many factors can cause these diseases, but the report concludes that given how fast some are rising, environmental chemicals are likely playing a role.

Fetuses, babies and young children “are not just little adults” and are the most vulnerable to hormone-altering chemicals since their bodies are still developing, the authors wrote.

"Over the past decade, we know much better that chronic diseases, ones related to the endocrine system, are increasing globally."- Thomas Zoeller, University of Massachusetts, AmherstZoeller said the goal of the report is to update world leaders on a topic that is complex and, at times, controversial.

A decade ago the biggest threat was thought to be persistent organic pollutant chemicals – such as DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These chemicals – now banned in the United States -- traveled the globe, persisted in the environment and caused severe population declines in some wildlife species.

Such contaminants still pose a threat. However, less persistent but more ubiquitous chemicals found in everyday products – such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates – now are increasingly linked to human health problems.

“These chemicals are what we call ‘pseudo persistent,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and a report co-author. “They don’t stay in the environment long but people are exposed to them all the time so it’s the same effect as if they were persistent.”
World Health Organization
The new report concludes that the link to human health impacts has been strengthened since the 2002 report, shown above.

The report points to previous regulations, such as the 2000 U.S. restrictions on chloropyrifos, as an option to protect people. After the pesticide was banned from residential use, children’s blood levels in New York were cut in half within two years. Also, lead bans greatly reduced children’s exposure.

To avoid prolonged exposures in the future, the panel reported that perhaps countries should “ban or restrict chemicals in order to reduce exposure early, even when there are significant but incomplete data.”

“Frankly, for BPA, the science is done. Flame retardants, phthalates … the science is done,” Zoeller said. “We have more than enough information on these chemicals to make the reasonable decision to ban, or at least take steps to limit exposure.”

But government agencies and industry groups remain unconvinced.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical companies, has repeatedly questioned the validity of studies linking two of the most pervasive endocrine disruptors -- BPA and phthalates.

Countries should consider restricting "certain chemicals in order to reduce exposure early, even where there are significant but incomplete data."- State of the Science, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year said “the scientific evidence at this time does not suggest that the very low levels of human exposure to BPA through the diet are unsafe.” The FDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are analyzing whether to restrict use of the chemical, which is found in polycarbonate plastic, canned food liners and some paper receipts and dental sealants.

The report also cites threats to wildlife, particularly killer whales and harbour seals. Both have high levels of PCBs and flame retardants that accumulate in ocean ecosystems.

One problem vexing those who study endocrine-disrupting chemicals is the vast number of them – about 800 are known – and how they may interact with one another. They’re in a variety of goods – such as pesticides, flame retardants, plastics, cosmetics and canned foods – and research has only touched the “tip of the iceberg,” according to the report.

“The vast majority of chemicals in current commercial use have not been tested at all,” the authors wrote in the summary.

Unless we know where the chemicals are used, and they’re tested, it’s tough to make informed decisions on how to protect people, Woodruff said. But she said developed countries such as the United States have proven that they can greatly reduce exposures to contaminants they find problematic, such as those in air pollution.

“We seem to be accepting as a society that it’s acceptable to load up our next generation with chemicals in an unregulated manner and hope they’re not bad,” Zoeller said. “We need to change that entire culture.”

The leader of the panel was Ake Bergman of Stockholm University, who has studied PCBs and related chemicals in Sweden for several decades. Others include Riana Bornman from Pretoria Academic Hospital in South Africa, Niels Erik Skakkebaek of University of Copenhagen in Denmark, Karen A. Kidd from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, Taisen Iguchi of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Japan, Susan Jobling of Brunel University in England and Derek Muir of Environment Canada, among others.
- See more at: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2013/who-report#sthash.r1aj0QSK.dpuf
 

Melania Padilla (178)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 1:00 pm
Of course they are a global threat!
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 1:23 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Melania because you have done so within the last day.
 

Angelika R. (146)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 1:42 pm
“We have more than enough information on these chemicals to make the reasonable decision to ban, or at least take steps to limit exposure.”

But government agencies and industry groups remain unconvinced.
-there you have it again, as always. A report only every 10 YEARS??? They knew it all along, yet keep hiding.
“We need to change that entire culture.” START NOW!
 

Carol D. (109)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 2:04 pm
They always start to realise things when its too late and then make excuses for changing what they are doing

Noted thanks
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 2:07 pm
Excellent points Angelika! I agree Carol and you are welcome.
You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last day.
 

Tamara Noforwardsplz (185)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 4:26 pm
Well obviously the words "global threat" don't mean a thing to our clueless leaders. Pretty much everywhere you turn now, there is a global threat and that has not inspired them to jump for change. Perhaps when they themselves are succumbing to illnesses caused by these "global threats" they will shake their heads and say, "guess we missed the ball on that one." Thanks J.L.
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 4:34 pm
Great observations Tamara! You are welcome.You cannot currently send a star to Tamara because you have done so within the last day.
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 4:58 pm
Thank you for posting the link to the short topical video Terry! You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 5:58 pm
It's a step in the right direction provided it isn't just lip service. Who paid for the study? That should tell us whether something will be done or not.

I have an idea. There are over 21.8 million of us on this site. What if we all stopped using at once all the products or services that are made from or utilize these chemicals? It's not like we don't know about them already is it?
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 6:03 pm
That might work if all participated and contacted 5 not on the site to do likewise...You cannot currently send a star to Theodore because you have done so within the last day.
 

SuSanne P. (182)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 8:46 pm
TY J, many great posts but Melaina P. says it all in her few words...Unfortunately I am unable to yet send Stars all around.
 

JL A. (275)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 7:42 am
You are welcome SuSanne.You cannot currently send a star to SuSanne because you have done so within the last day.
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 2:44 pm
Our children and grandchildren face a scarier world.
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 3:40 pm
Our politicians only consider "global threats" to be threats of physical terrorism....the war we in the U.S. have waged against an invisible enemy. There are billions to be spent recognizing and thwarting these evildoers....making tons of money for corporate war contractors and the defense industry. Silent killers like chemicals aren't exactly on their list of "things to get rid of." In fact, it will cost them money to eliminate these toxins, and possible threats of lawsuits from consumers. Like I've said before, follow the money.
Until we can get a Congress full of members who will actually work on behalf of their constituents best interests, there will be only lip service. Grassroots pro-consumer non-profits can gather members to petition companies to get toxic chemicals out of their products, and I will gladly sign and share all petitions regarding this.
 

JL A. (275)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 4:16 pm
Thanks Lois for the excellent explanation of the challenges in getting this issue addressed! You cannot currently send a star to Lois because you have done so within the last day.
 

Birgit W. (144)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 4:36 pm
Thank you
 

JL A. (275)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 5:23 pm
You are welcome Birgit
 

Aaron Bouchard (127)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 7:05 pm
Noted thanks
 

JL A. (275)
Thursday February 28, 2013, 7:11 pm
You are welcome Aaron
 

Sergio Padilla (62)
Saturday March 9, 2013, 11:31 am
Noted
 
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story


Loading Noted By...Please Wait

 

 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.