Two environmental and health advocacy groups have compiled a list of 12 toxic hormone-altering chemicals in common household products that should be avoided.
The "dirty dozen" list — developed by the Environmental Working Group and the Keep A Breast Foundation
— includes such "endocrine disruptors" as BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals used in plastic containers, food cans, and fragrances.
The toxic chemicals have been shown to alter and disrupt production of the body's hormones in ways that can pose potential health risks.
"We are all routinely exposed to endocrine disruptors, and this has the potential to significantly harm the health of our youth," said Renee Sharp, EWG’s researcher director. "It's important to do what we can to avoid them, but at the same time we can't shop our way out of the problem. We need real chemical policy reform."
The "dirty dozen" list includes:
BPA — a synthetic hormone linked to cancer and reproductive problems — contained in many canned foods and plastic products marked with a "PC," for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7.
Dioxin — formed in chlorine or bromine production that affects sex hormones —found in many animal products.
Atrazine —an herbicide atrazine that can turn male frogs into females — used in producing non-organic corn and other produce.
Phthalates —chemicals that can cause cell death — contained in many plastic food containers, and plastic wrap made from PVC.
Perchlorate — a component in rocket fuel that can affect thyroid function — found in some produce, milk, and unfiltered drinking water.
Fire retardants — known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs that mimic thyroid hormones — contained in house dust, reupholstering foam furniture, and old carpeting.
Lead —a brain-damaging heavy metal — found in crumbling old paint and aging water pipes.
Arsenic — a deadly chemical tied to obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, and high blood pressure — contained in food and drinking water.
Mercury — a brain-damaging toxin — found in fish and seafood.
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) — linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol — used to make non-stick cookware and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture, and carpets.
Organophosphate pesticides — known to damage the brain and alter hormone levels — contained in non-organic fruits and vegetables.
Glycol ethers — chemicals shown to damage fertility and unborn children — used in solvents, paints, cleaning products, brake fluid, and cosmetics.
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