Endocrine Disrupters in Everyday Items

Date: 29.10.2014

Has it ever occurred to you that a plastic water bottle or a children's lunch box could release toxic chemicals into the food or drink held inside or that you could absorb a hormone disrupting chemical from shop receipts printed on some thermal papers?

Some products that contain these toxic chemicals can interfere with your endocrine system, hence they are called "endocrine disruptors". These chemicals have the ability to mimic or alter normal hormonal functioning and can potentially result in:

  • a reduction in fertility of males;
  • a decrease in the number of male babies born;
  • fertility problems in females;
  • increases in diseases, such as immune and autoimmune diseases and some cancers (especially breast cancer);
  • alter the onset of puberty;
  • increase in the prevalence of obesity.

Those at the greatest risk from the negative health impacts from endocrine disruptors are children, including unborn babies. This is because young children are still developing and endocrine disrupters have the potential to impact upon:

  • physical, neurological and  reproductive development;
  • behaviour problems, such as hyperactivity or aggression.

There are a variety of chemicals found in household items which have the potential to act as endocrine disrupters and can cause serious health impacts, including;

  • Bisphenol A - also known as BPA which is used in plastic products such as food and drink containers and has the potential to leach into the food or drink contained inside, entering the human body;
  • Phthalates - such as Di(2-ethylhexylphthalate) (DEHP) used within some food packaging, children's products (although banned in children's toys in Australia they may still be in some imported products illegally) and some polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products;
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) - used to increase a product's resistance to stains and water, including some food packaging and increasing the water resistance of clothing.

Whilst there is evidence that indicate that these chemicals can act as endocrine disrupters and cause health issues, they can still be found in everyday products. For those who wish to avoid any potential health implications from products containing these chemicals it is possible to purchase products free from harmful toxins and these can be found on www.ecospecifier.com.au.

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