Saul Elbein, Feb 7, 2024

The Hill reports, “Plastics, pesticides and forever chemicals are exposing billions of people around the world to pernicious and dangerous health effects, a new report has found.

In the report published Monday, scientists from the Endocrine Society and the International Pollutants Elimination Network criticized the way regulators determine the toxicity level of chemicals — and suggested that for a staggering array of common compounds, no dose may be safe.

This is a problem scientists connect to the rising production from the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries.

“There is good reason to suspect that increasing chemical and plastic production and use are related to the growing incidence of endocrine- associated disorders over the past 20 years,” the report found.

The authors noted that plastic sales had increased thirty-fold since 1970 — and that annual production had gone up by a factor of nine. That’s an increase that had corresponded with a dramatic rise in diseases such as obesity, as well as similarly stark falls in male fertility.

“It’s a public health problem if people who want to have families can’t have them,” report lead author Andrea Gore, an endocrinologist of the University of Texas, told The HIll.

“It’s also a public health problem — and maybe a bigger public health problem — that endocrine disruptors are associated with greater likelihood to have obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Those are huge public health problems that are very costly, both to the individual and to society.”

The report points to mounting evidence that a wide array of compounds — pesticides such as glyphosate, plastics additives, forever chemicals (PFAS), phthalates, bisphenols — play an insidious role in chronic disease.

These compounds are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) because their size and shape resemble the messenger molecules, or hormones, that human and animal bodies use to govern a wide range of physical systems.

With about a quarter of diseases likely caused by environmental factors — and more than three-quarters of the most deadly — endocrinologists and public health experts have increasingly focused on the EDCs that are found in everything from food to children’s toys to furniture.

Those chemicals “may contribute to disorders with hormonal underpinnings such as diabetes, neurological disorders, reproductive disorders, inflammation, and compromised immune functioning,” the report found.

While they’re likely not safe for people of any age, they’re particularly dangerous to the developing bodies of fetuses and young children, the report found.

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