Reducing “High-Priority” Toxic Exposures

science-test-tube

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:

  1. heavy metals: (Pb, Hg, As, Cd, Al)Toxic Bunch
  2. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  3. plastics (phthalates)
  4. phenols, particularly bisphenol A (BPA)
  5. organochloride pesticides (OCs)
  6. organophosphate pesticides (OPs)
  7. polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins (dioxins)
  8. polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  9. polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
  10. polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs)

Reducing Dietary Exposures Continue reading “Reducing “High-Priority” Toxic Exposures”

Toxic Chemicals Can Make You Fat and Diabetic: The Story of Endocrine Dysruption

endocrine organs

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.

EDC-figureEven 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.

What common chemical exposures are known to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes? It’s a blizzard of bewildering names that include: Continue reading “Toxic Chemicals Can Make You Fat and Diabetic: The Story of Endocrine Dysruption”