The EcoWaste Coalition aired this request for action as it releases the report “Girl, Disrupted: Hormone Disruptors and Women’s Reproductive Health” published by the US-based Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE).
“Girl, Disrupted,” based on cutting-edge research and reviewed by top scientists in the field, sheds light on what hormone disruptors are and how these chemicals harm women’s reproductive systems, particularly at critical stages of development.
The new report says that manmade, hormone-like chemicals in the environment harm women’s reproductive systems, particularly when exposure occurs during prenatal and early life development, stressing that more focused research is needed to fully understand how.
“I continue to be surprised by the number of doctors that come up to me at conferences and comment on what they are seeing in their patients that they have never seen before,” said Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at the University of California, San Francisco, reviewer of the report.
“Girls entering puberty at extremely young ages, young women suffering from the inability to get pregnant and conditions normally associated with older ages such as very painful fibroids, endometriosis and breast cancer,” she said.
In a letter faxed to the Department of Health, the EcoWaste Coalition expressed concern over the effects of industrial chemicals as cited in the report that have been linked to serious health problems for women such as early puberty, infertility, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, breast cancer and others.
“These industrial chemicals known as endocrine or hormone disruptors can disturb hormonal balances that are critical for the good health and development at all phases of a woman’s life,” Elsie Brandes-De Veyra of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Steering Committee said.
“We therefore urge Secretary Duque to initiate policy solutions, applying the precautionary principle, that will adequately safeguard our girls and women from early- life exposures to these harmful chemicals that can cause later-life health issues and even multi-generational harm,” De Veyra added.
Hormone disruptors, the “Girl, Disrupted” explains, can get into the human bodies when we breathe, eat, drink and have skin contact with these harmful chemicals that can be found in household products as well as in cigarette smoke, industrial pollutants and some pesticides.
Some of these hormone disruptors include bisphenol A, which is commonly used in baby feeding bottles, sports bottles and in the linings of infant formula and canned foods, and phthalates, which are used in children’s products, cosmetics, medical devices and as plasticizer in polyvinyl
Other known hormone disruptors include chemicals in first and secondhand cigarette smoke, the dioxin byproducts from industrial and burning processes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in transformer oils and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) used as flame retardant in electrical appliances, textiles, plastic foams and other products.
Studies show that the health impacts of these chemicals to hormonal functions depend on the potency and dose of the chemical, the timing of the exposure and the individual’s overall health, which can be shaped, among other factors, by the person’s genetic makeup, diet, physical habits, sexually transmitted diseases and access to healthcare.
In calling for action versus hormone disruptors, the EcoWaste Coalition asked Secretary Duque to support local research on endocrine disrupting chemicals and their effects on women’s health, and for him to support policies that will identify and phase out harmful chemicals in products and to require the use of safer substitutes.
The EcoWaste Coalition specifically asked the Department of Health, as the principal public health and safety agency, to lead the process of listing non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging to be targeted for phase out under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
As for the consuming public, the EcoWaste Coalition encourages consumers to insist on toxics-free goods as a fundamental right, and to have access to chemical information, including a product’s chemical ingredients, health effects and eco-disposal, to facilitate informed choices.
“Girl, Disrupted” is available for free download at CHE, a nonprofit, nonpartisan global network of more than 3,000 individuals and organizations focused on the science of environmental health:
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