Almost all existing plastics – as well as silicones, rubbers, and papers – release chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA).
The endocrine connection
Chemicals with EA are thought to be the largest group of chemicals of endocrine disruptors. The endocrine system is one of the body’s main communication networks, and is responsible for producing the hormones that help control reproduction, growth and development, and behavioral responses. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic or block the actions of the body’s natural hormones.
So while estrogens are naturally-occurring hormones, chemicals with EA – when ingested through food and beverages, medicine, or cosmetics – mimic or block the actions of the natural estrogen. These chemicals enter the body through food, beverages, medicine, lotions, or cosmetics.
Hormones & health
Current research indicates EA-induced hormonal imbalance can have significant harmful effects. EA chemicals are associated with a vast array of serious health problems, such as:
- altered growth rates
- early puberty in girls
- reduced sperm count in males
- altered functions in reproductive organs in both sexes
- altered behaviors
- higher rates of some cancers
EA is everywhere
Plastics produced with chemicals that have EA are commonly used in water bottles, baby bottles, food containers, bags, linings for metal food cans, linings for wine/beer fermentation vats, toys, medical devices, dental materials, and many, many other plastic products.
Extremely low concentrations of chemicals with EA – even when exposure is measured in parts per trillion – can still cause health problems.
Exposing plastics to common-use stresses like microwave radiation, sunlight, or heat can increase the release of chemicals with EA. Young children, infants, and fetuses are especially sensitive and vulnerable to chemicals with EA.