endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is linked to two major public health
problems in the world - diabetes and obesity. This was revealed in a scientific
statement issued recently by the Endocrine Society.
statement is part of the further investigation of the Society's initial 2009
groundbreaking report that scrutinized the state of scientific evidence on EDCs
and the risk posed to human health.
According to the
statement, EDC exposure is also linked to neurological problems, infertility,
hormone-related cancers, and other disorders.
EDCs can mimic,
block or -interfere with the body's natural hormones to create many health
issues. EDCs can also change the way cells develop and grow by hijacking the
body's chemical messengers.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
is a well-known EDC, used in the
production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Other EDCs include
phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides
These chemicals are so common that most people have been exposed to one or
makes these observations based on emerging evidence.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and
has published an analysis of the economic burden of EDC
estimated that the chemical exposure most likely costs the European Union $209
billion a year in actual medical expenses and lost earning potential.
evidence is more definitive than ever before - EDCs disrupt hormones in a
manner that harms human health. 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," said Andrea C. Gore,
Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Prof. Gore led the team that developed the statement.
Susceptibility of Unborn Babies to EDCs
found that the risk is particularly great when unborn babies are exposed to
EDCs. Babies exposed to even a small amount of EDCs during the prenatal period
have a higher chance of developing obesity later in the life than children who
are not exposed to EDCs during the period.
Also, some of
the chemicals can directly influence beta and alpha cells in the pancreas, fat
cells, and liver cells, which could increase risk factors for Type 2 diabetes
, leading to insulin resistance and
an overabundance of the hormone insulin in the body.
researches also show a connection between EDC exposure in humans with obesity and
. However, the research design did not allow investigators to
The study gives
insights into factors driving the increasing rates of obesity and diabetes. As
per the Society's Endocrine Facts and Figures report, about 35% of U.S. adults
are obese. Also, around 29 million Americans have diabetes.
clear we need to take action to minimize further exposure. With more chemicals
being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is
needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out of household
goods," Gore said.
statement, the Endocrine Society calls for:
- Conducting more studies to establish cause-and-effect
relationships between EDC exposure and health conditions.
- Regulation to ensure that chemicals are properly examined for
endocrine activity prior to being permitted for use.
- Encouraging 'green chemists' and other industrial partners to
create green products and eliminate EDCs. Green chemistry is an area of
chemistry focused on the design of products that minimize the use of
- Encouraging public and policymakers to keep EDCs out of food,
water, and the air.
- Taking measures to protect unborn children from EDCs exposure.
society stressed on the importance of recognizing EDC threat as a global issue
at the fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management
held from 28 September to 2 October 2015 in Geneva.