Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More chemicals to avoid

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that exposure to three common chemical classes—phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens—in young girls may disrupt the timing of pubertal development, and put girls at risk for health complications later in life. ...
Phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens are among chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which interfere with the body's endocrine, or hormone, system. They are found in a wide range of consumer products, such as nail polishes, where they increase durability, and in cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and shampoos, where they carry fragrance. Some are used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastics such as PVC, or are included as coatings on medications or nutritional supplements to make them timed-release.
 Oh, crap. If this is true ....  What are we doing to ourselves? It's enough to turn you into a Jenny McCarthy-type anti-chemical nut. We're dumping organophospates into the water, which are basically nerve agents we use to kill insects. We're making baby food containers with bisphenol A in them, a synthetic estrogen, to screw up little boys' boy parts and make little girls aggressive. And now it turns out that chemicals found in nail polish, perfumes, lotions, shampoos, plastic containers, and time-release medicine can cause early puberty and then breast cancer. I hate to be an alarmist, but this is alarming.

The obvious first baby step for a parent or center would be to do one's best to minimize the exposure.
  • Buy shampoos and lotions for kids that have no fragrances added.  
  • Avoid time-release medicine. 
  • Don't microwave in plastic. 
  • Don's use pesticides in the garden. 
  • You should put off as long as possible the use of nail polish and cosmetics. I know you can't eliminate them, but it seems prudent to minimize them as much as socially possible, and phase them in, and don't put them on toddlers, for Christ's sake. I don't care how cute they look.
And even then, you don't know if it would do any good. Maybe the stuff is so pervasive that my piddling suggestions for minimizing it wouldn't make any difference.

UPDATE: And it turns out babies absorb the most bisphenol A, and it's naturally worst for bottle-fed babies, so to the list above should be "avoid plastic baby bottles," for milk, water, juice, whatever.

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