Man-Made Chemicals Partially Responsible For Some Cancers, Study Says

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Cancer cell
Photo by Ed Uthman

A U.N.-sponsored study has concluded that man-made chemicals that are used in everyday products, called EDCs, are responsible for birth deformities, hormonal cancers, and psychiatric diseases. Moreover, EDCs have been linked to a decline in the human male sperm count and female fertility, an increase in childhood cancers that were once rarely seen, and the disappearance of some animal species.

“It is clear that some of these chemical pollutants can affect the endocrinal (hormonal) system and ….may also interfere with the development processes of humans and wildlife species,” states the 28-page report, titled State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, 2012. “We live in a world in which man-made chemicals have become part of everyday life.”

The Huffington Post shares:

The international group, academic experts working under the umbrella of the United Nations environmental and health agencies UNEP and WHO, issued their findings in a paper updating a 2002 study on the potential dangers of synthetic chemicals.

Declaring “a global threat that needs to be resolved,” the team said humans and animals across the planet were probably exposed to hundreds of these often little-studied or understood compounds at any one time.

EDCs include phthalates long used in making plastics soft and flexible. Products made from them include toys, children’s dummies, perfumes and pharmaceuticals, as well as cosmetics like deodorants that are absorbed into the body.

Another is Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is used to harden plastics and is found in food and beverage containers, including some babies’ bottles and the coating of food cans.

While many countries (the United States, Canada, and European Union members) have banned certain chemicals, the report warns that hundreds of thousands are still used around the world and many chemicals have yet to be assessed for their ability to disrupt hormones in humans and other animals.

“The team, created by a 17-year-old chemical management body called the IOMC working with a range of U.N. agencies, said a key problem was that manufacturers of consumer products did not identify many of their chemical components,” writes the Huffington Post. “Consequently, the researchers said, they had only been able to look at “the tip of the iceberg”. Disease risk from the use of EDCs – or what could be even more dangerous a combination of them – “may be significantly underestimated. Using studies of the effect of the chemicals on humans and animals, the team added, a link to EDCs could be suspected in breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, infertility, asthma, obesity, strokes, and Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases.”