Review of the Evidence on Developmental Exposure to Certain Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Obesity

written by Sarah Howard
CHE Diabetes-Obesity Spectrum Working Group Coordinator

Sarah HowardA review article on prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupters and obesity was just published. Overall, it found that, “For certain EDCs, early life exposure may be associated with weight homeostasis later in life, however not necessarily in an obesogenic direction.” The review includes both human and laboratory evidence (19 studies) published since 1995. (The review did not include studies on BPA.) Here are their findings for the chemical classes included:

Organotins

Organotins are well-documented obesogens in laboratory studies. Human studies, however, are not available. Prenatal exposure to tributyltin causes adioposity in exposed mice, and these effects may be transmitted to future generations as well.

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New report: “Review of the Science Linking Chemical Exposures to the Human Risk of Obesity and Diabetes”

Sarah Howard
Coordinator of the CHE Diabetes and Obesity Spectrum Working Group

The UK nonprofit organization CHEM Trust (Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring Trust) just released a report on the links between chemicals and diabetes/obesity. Studies published in recent years provide compelling evidence that human chemical contamination can play a part in both conditions. The report concludes that the chemicals that we accumulate throughout life, via our everyday lifestyles, is likely to contribute to these modern epidemics. This is the same conclusion reached by the National Toxicology Program’s review of the scientific evidence on chemicals and diabetes/obesity, published last month.  

The CHEM Trust report, entitled Review of the Science Linking Chemical Exposures to the Human Risk of Obesity and Diabetes, is written by two of the world’s leading experts: Professor Miquel Porta, MD, MPH, PhD, of Spain and Professor Duk-Hee Lee, MD, PhD, of South Korea.

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Fueling the fire? How flame retardants might be doing more harm than good

Sarah Dunagan
Staff Scientist, Silent Spring Institute

The history of flame retardants stretches back at least as far as 450 B.C. when, as noted by Herodotus, the Egyptians soaked wood in alum. But it wasn’t until World War II, and the subsequent flush of highly flammable petroleum-based products into the market, that the flame retardants so popular today came into widespread use. The addition of these chemicals to our couches, TVs, and computers has soared in recent decades in response to flammability standards developed in the 1970s. Of course, we all want to protect ourselves and our families from fires. But the very regulations intended to protect us have unintentionally exposed us to chemicals that may be doing more harm than good. 

Mounting research suggests that flame retardants may cause neurological and reproductive harm, thyroid disruption, and cancer. What is the latest evidence from animal and human studies? Are some people disproportionately exposed? Do less toxic alternatives exist? How can the emerging research inform chemicals policy reform? We explored these questions on a teleconference hosted by the CHE-Fertility Working Group and the Women’s Health and Environment Initiative (WHEI) on April 15.

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