Over the past 30 years, toxic chemicals, like Teflon, plastics, and formaldehyde have increasingly invaded our homes. We used to think these substances were harmless, but a rising tide of evidence has turned the spotlight on chemical exposures as a possible poison to our children’s developing brains.
One group of substances of particular concern is a ubiquitous family of hormone twisting compounds, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These substances are the focus of intense scrutiny because: 1) they’re found in every home in America 2) they’re increasingly linked to human disease 3) our exposure to them has risen in parallel with the surge in autism diagnoses and 4) they may theoretically affect the developing fetal brain.
In recent years, research has mounted against a virtual police lineup of EDCs, like BPA (in food cans, hard plastic water bottles), phthlates (in soft plastics, cosmetics) and fire retardants (in sofas, computers, flame-resistant clothing). Multiple animal and human studies have linked EDC exposure (during or after fetal development) with a host of hormone-related disorders, like low sperm count, cancer (breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), congenital malformation of the genitals and even obesity.
In 1996, pediatricians and other concerned scientists convinced Congress to order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test hundreds of chemicals for endocrine disrupting effects. The Clinton administration began the process of designing these tests, but the Bush administration defied the law. It ignored this mandate to protect the public health…and organized medicine watched impotently from the sidelines. Today, ten years and tens of millions of dollars later, not a single chemical has been evaluated for endocrine disrupting effects!
Our exposure to EDCs is no mere theoretical concern. In 2000, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study found detectable phthalates in 99.9% of adults including women of childbearing age. The CDC also discovered detectable levels of BPA in 93% of thousands of Americans tested (6 years of age and older).
The presence of EDCs in women of child-bearing age is especially worrisome. That is because there is evidence that even minuscule amounts of these chemicals — levels commonly present in a woma