Emerging evidence ties endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure to two of the biggest public health threats facing society – diabetes and obesity, according to the executive summary of an upcoming Scientific Statement issued by the Endocrine Society. EDCs contribute to health problems by mimicking, blocking or otherwise interfering with the body’s natural hormones. By hijacking the body’s chemical messengers, EDCs can alter the way cells develop and grow.
Known EDCs include bisphenol A (BPA) found in food can linings and cash register receipts, phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides. The chemicals are so common that nearly every person on Earth has been exposed to one or more.
“The evidence is more definitive than ever before – EDCs disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health,” said Andrea C. Gore, Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of the 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.”
Our factory farms rely on mechanization, pesticide-rich, fertilizer-driven food production systems that have a significant impact on our exposure to toxic chemicals. Our meat, dairy and poultry are pumped with antibiotics and hormones to support the mass production of eggs, chicken, milk, and beef. Fertilizers and phosphates flow to our rivers and lakes, contaminating waterways and encouraging the bloom of toxic algae that overcomes many local lakes and ponds. Chemicals are added to food to improve food flavor and colors; some of which affect children’s behavior, are added to foods to encourage consumption. Pesticides including neurotoxins remain as residues on food and are subsequently ingested and metabolized by people. Plastic and paper packaging may leach toxic chemicals into food. And food is trucked, shipped, and flown around the world, contributing to air pollution.
Food should taste good- and shop any farmers market and you will see food produced to taste well may not always look pretty. But additives are not needed to make mother natures place in providing great tasting, healthy food.