Common chemicals you come in contact with every day are increasing your risk for diabetes and obesity, says a statement issued by the Endocrine Society. The report found growing evidence that endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, contribute to health problems by interfering with the body's natural hormones.
EDCs mimic natural hormones in the body like estrogens and androgens, and interfere with their function. According to the Environmental Working Group, EDCs can play havoc with hormones in several ways, including increasing the production of some hormones and decreasing the production of others, imitating hormones, and interfering with hormone signaling, all of which alter the way cells develop and grow.
EDCs are so ubiquitous in our society that they're almost impossible to avoid. Studies have found measurable amounts of them in the urine of more than 90 percent of Americans.
The Endocrine Society's report was far from the first to warn that EDCs are a danger to human health. About 150 studies have linked EDCs, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), to a long list of health problems, including heart disease, obesity, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, infertility, and the feminization of males.
Several of the studies have hinted that levels of EDCs which are lower than those deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency cause health problems.
Two of the most prevalent EFCs are bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. BPA is found in plastic bottles, canned foods, and water supply pipes, where it leaches into liquids. It is also found in products as widespread and diverse as cash register receipts, compact discs, and contact lenses, where it leaches into skin. Phthalates are found in plastics, cosmetics, flame retardants, and pesticides.
The chemicals may be especially dangerous to infants and young children. Studies have linked even minute levels to obesity and Type 2 diabetes later in life.
"Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals during early development can have long-lasting, even permanent consequences," said Endocrine Society member Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, M.D. "The science is clear and it’s time for policymakers to take this wealth of evidence into account as they develop legislation."
"The evidence is more definitive than ever before — EDCs disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health," said Andrea C. Gore, professor of pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of the Endocrine Society's task force that developed the statement.
"Hundreds of studies are pointing to the same conclusion, whether they are long-term epidemiological studies in human, basic research in animals and cells, or research into groups of people with known occupational exposure to specific chemicals," said Gore.
Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of The Blaylock Wellness Report, doesn't believe it's going to be easy to get legislation passed to remove products containing BPA and other endocrine disrupters from the market.
"Manufacturers have a lot of investment in products contaminated with BPA, and they have a huge lobby with an enormous amount of power," he told Newsmax Health. "But the most powerful thing in the free market is the power of the purse. If people insisted on BPA-free products, manufacturers would make them."
Use the following tips to reduce your exposure to EDCs :
• Avoid buying plastic containers with the recycling labels No.3, No.7, or PC (polycarbonate) on the bottom. Instead, look for containers labeled No. 1, No. 2, No.4 and No.5. Cloudy or soft containers don't contain BPA.
• Look for "BPA-free" labels on food products.
• Choose powdered baby formula instead of liquid. If you do buy liquid formulas, buy only those in glass bottles.
• When possible, buy foods packaged in glass or cartons instead of cans, especially soups and tomato-based products. If you must buy canned, rinse thoroughly before using.
• Don't heat plastic containers, and always wash them by hand. Toss them in the garbage if they are scratched or cracked.
• When heating food, use glass, stainless steel, or porcelain containers.
• If you buy a canned product, check the liner. If it's white, it contains BPA. If it's a yellowish, reddish, copper, or pinkish color, it's BPA-free.