Exposure to potentially harmful chemicals on a daily basis is virtually unavoidable. The majority of the 85,000 chemicals registered for production under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) were grandfathered in with little or no health and safety testing.1 Medical conditions linked to toxic chemicals include obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, cancers, and multisystem complaints such as fibromyalgia, sick building syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities.2
I have identified ten high-priority categories of toxic chemicals based on their prevalence, persistence, and known detrimental effects on human and environmental health:
The percentage of US children between 12 and 19 with diabetes or pre-diabetes increased from 9% in 1999 to 23% in 2008. That’s a staggering 2.5x increase in just 10 years, and is an alarming public health problem. What’s at the root? Dietary choices and sedentary lives surely figure in, but those two factors alone do not explain the increase. What else is there? Evidence is mounting that everyday chemical exposures from our air, food, water, clothing, furniture, homes and workplaces are also to blame.
Even though pesticides, plasticizers, antimicrobials, and ﬂame retardants have had benefits, the side effects on human and environmental health are a growing concern. Literally. We now know that many chemicals can disrupt our normal hormonal functions. We call them “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” (EDCs). Scientific studies linking EDC exposure with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes are piling up, and now the term “metabolic disruptor” is becoming common.