by J.D. Heyes
February 25, 2013
A new landmark study by the World Health
Organization (WHO) says a host of common, everyday household chemicals
pose severe health problems including cancer, asthma, reduced
fertility and even birth defects.
According to the study, WHO identified a number of "synthetic
chemicals" which the UN agency said had "serious implications" for
health, even going so far as to suggest that so-called
"gender-bending" compounds found in PVC flooring, kids' toys and
even credit cards should be banned in order to protect future
generations, recent reports detailing the findings said.
The study said more research was likely needed to flesh out the
links between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are found
in a number of household chemicals, and "specific diseases and
suspect' chemical substances are causing harm
WHO researchers said they have discovered links between EDCs and
health issues including breast, prostate and thyroid cancers,
testicular problems, developmental effects on children's nervous
systems, and attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity in kids.
Scientists at the UN agency also said it is "reasonable to suspect"
chemical substances called phthalates of disrupting female
fertility, and also linked the substances to rising rates of
childhood diseases such as leukemia.
Researchers labeled the study the most "comprehensive" report on
EDCs so far because it examined and evaluated several chemicals and
related evidence rather than just focusing on a single element or
The study is titled, "State
of The Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals."
The findings also raised concerns over
bispehnol A, a man-made
compound found in many daily items such as tin cans and sunglasses.
The substance is believed to interfere with the natural hormones
that influence human development and growth.
WHO scientists also said there was "very strong evidence" in animals
that the substances can interfere with thyroid hormones; that could
lead to brain damage, loss of intelligence, autism and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Regarding the incidence of prostate cancer, "significant evidence"
exists that suggests a link with agricultural pesticides, according
to a team of international medical experts which examined the data.
The UN agency also said wildlife was at
"The diverse systems affected by
endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely include all hormonal
systems and range from those controlling development and
function of reproductive organs to the tissues and organs
regulating metabolism and satiety," the report said.
"Effects on these systems can lead
to obesity, infertility or reduced fertility, learning and
memory difficulties, adult-onset diabetes or cardiovascular
disease, as well as a variety of other diseases."
The same report, published 10 years ago,
found only "weak evidence" that said chemicals could affect human
"The latest science shows that
communities across the globe are being exposed to EDCs, and
their associated risks," said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO's Director
for Public Health and Environment.
She said the agency,
"will work with partners to
establish research priorities to investigate links to EDCs and
human health impacts in order to mitigate the risks," adding,
"We all have a responsibility to protect future generations."
'We urgently need
The study backed similar warnings by the European Environment Agency
that were issued last year, warning items like cosmetics and
medicines containing EDCs could be harmful to human health.
Earlier, we reported that
EDCs identified in this study may
have on the body's hormone system may have "significant health
implications" for humans.
According to a UN press release, the report,
"calls for more research to
understand fully the associations between endocrine disrupting
chemicals (EDCs) - found in many household and industrial
products - and specific diseases and disorders."
"We urgently need more research to obtain a fuller picture of
the health and environment impacts of endocrine disruptors,"