Environmental contaminants that leech onto countless products, plastics and our meat are a danger for children and expectant mothers, according to a doctors meeting at the NY Academy of Medicine. They noted that these toxins are a danger to everyone.
Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, also the Director of the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center headed up the panel discussion, explaining that when children are exposed to toxins found in ordinary items, their hormonal systems can be adversely affected and they ultimately can be set up for a lifetime of bad health.
The New York Daily News reports that experts from Mount Sinai hospital pointed to some beauty products, fatty meats, pesticides, plastics and cigarettes which contain dangerous chemicals including PCBs, pthtalates and parabens.
The panel of health experts said people who have contact with these toxins anytime between pregnancy through adolescence increase their chances of coming down with neurological problems, learning disabilities and chronic diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes. Dr. Landrigan explains,
“These are molecular events that have real world consequences that spread over a lifetime. They have an effect to produce profound and lasting effects on the human body.”
A Mount Sinai study done in 2010 on children aged 4 to 9 who had been exposed to phthlates in the womb who ultimately showed an increase in depression, aggression and conduct disorders.
EPA Region II Administrator Judith Enck pointed out to the audience that the Toxic Substances Control Act, which is supposed to govern chemicals, doesn’t have the teeth to regulate the 80,000 chemicals that are used in commerce. She says,
“It’s outdated, and frankly, doesn't protect us from chemicals."
Earlier this year, US Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced the Safe Chemicals Act, intent on reforming the toxic substances act and mandate stronger regulations for chemicals. This is part of his statement.
"Because America's chemical safety laws are broken, we are exposed to untested chemicals in products every day. The Safe Chemicals Act is a common-sense public health measure that would put the burden on chemical companies to prove their products are safe before they end up in our homes and our bodies."
Experts have some ideas about how to avoid these chemicals. But for most people, it's a pretty tall order. They urge people to stop smoking, replace plastics with glass and stainless steel containers and cookware, limit meat consumption, use alternatives to pesticides and avoid products that have the word “fragrance” in their ingredient list.
The Healthy Way website presents a lecture on this subject by Dr. Doris Rapp, a physician, founder of the Practical allergy Foundation, and former President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. In it she points out several alarming statistics.
"A study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and health said that there are 884 toxic chemicals in personal care products. Seven hundred and seventy eight cause acute toxic affect. That means that it could cause a headache, it could cause a rash, it makes you sick in some way right away. One hundred and forty six of the chemicals can cause tumors. Now some of these tumors are cancerous. Three hundred and fourteen can cause developmental abnormalities.This means that if you put it on yourself when you are pregnant, that your baby might not be normal. When a child's nervous system and brain is developing, some of these chemicals could adversely affect that. Some of these chemicals, if you just breath the vapors, can make a baby sick. They can cause reproductive problems in two hundred and eighteen of these chemicals. Three hundred and seventy six can cause skin or eye damage."