10 April 2014 Bioscientifica Ltd
Human and rat testes respond differently to endocrine disrupting chemicals such as BPA in two thirds of all cases, according to a recent review. As human safety levels are extrapolated from rodent data, the study could lead to a re-evaluation of the acceptable daily intake for many endocrine disruptors. The review is published in a special April issue of the journal Reproduction dedicated to endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are compounds that interfere with animal hormone (or endocrine) systems in various ways. Sometimes, this can lead to developmental problems, including those of the reproductive system. Over the past four decades, human sperm counts have been markedly decreasing and the rate of testicular cancer rates has risen. Meanwhile, the occurance of undescended testicles and abnormally developed male urethras are also thought to be increasing. Evidence suggests that these male reproductive disorders are at least partially due to the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals which are becoming increasingly concentrated and prevalent in the environment and that these EDs act on the testis during fetal development.
Suspected EDs include pesticides, flame retardants and chemicals found in plastic goods such as bisphenol A (BPA) – one of a group called phthalates.. Currently, the human health risk from exposure to a given endocrine disruptor is normally assessed using a rodent model. The observed safety threshold is then reduced by a factor of 100 to calculate safety levels for humans.
In a recent review, researchers from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and University of Paris-Diderot compared the effects of six potential EDs on the function of rat, mouse and human fetal testis at comparable stages of their development. They simulated normal testicular development in each of these species using a novel in vitro culture system called FeTA. They found that the response to these six potential EDs was similar in humans and rodents for only one third of analyses. Human testes were more than 100 times more susceptible to some compounds, including BPA, compared to in rodents. For other compounds different effects were seen between species. More recent studies have confirmed the findings using a different experimental approach.
Professor René Habert, who led the study, said: “Our work suggests that for some compounds, human and rat cells show different susceptibilities. For others, there appear to be fundamental differences in the way these compounds act in humans and rodents. We think that these differences between species are even more pronounced for reproductive functions. This means we really have to question how relevant animal data is to assessing risk in humans.”
The FeTA system is an extremely reliable system for studying testicular cell development across species. It is more efficient than in vivo methods and also avoids problems of cross-contamination. “Our work highlights the fact that we need to test the effects of potential endocrine disrupting chemicals in both rat and human cells to be able to accurately predict the risk,” said Professor Habert. “The FeTA system is a great tool for comparing effects of endocrine disruptors on testis development in different species. However, the limitation is that we cannot use it to study long-term effects, as testis development can only be maintained for up to ten days, depending on the species.”
The next stage for the research is to assess the risk of BPA substitutes, including BPS and BPF, in both human and rodents. The group is also investigating how these compounds interact with rodent and human cells at the molecular level to understand how differences between species arise. “We need to develop specific tools to study chemical toxicity in human reproductive cells; this will allow us to accurately assess safety thresholds for different compounds, and re-evaluate the acceptible daily intake levels to protect human health for some of them” said Professor Habert.
This article by Mike Roussell gives one pause to consider the bigger picture when it comes to what we put into our mouths. After all, that’s where the dynamic – eating, food, nutrition, health – begins.
Looking at what’s in our food can quickly become an exercise in getting depressed or getting invigorated. Awareness makes the difference. These six chemicals are a good starting place if you’re not sure about what’s in your food.
by Mike Roussell, SHAPE Diet Doctor, phD
These six chemicals may be causing weight gain. With obesity rates continuing to climb year after year without epic changes in the amount of calories we are eating, many wonder what else could be a contributing to this growing epidemic. Sedentary lifestyle? Definitely. Environmental toxins? Possibly.
Unfortunately the world we live in is chock-full of chemicals and compounds that can negatively impact our hormones. These six in particular could be helping to pad your waistline and while you may not be able to completely avoid them, there are easy ways to limit your contact.
1. Atrazine: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. It’s commonly used on corn, sugarcane, sorghum, and in some areas on grass lawns. Atrazine disrupts normal cellular mitochondrial function and has been shown to cause insulin resistance in animals.
The EPA last thoroughly examined the health effects of atrazine in 2003, deeming it safe, but since that time 150 new studies have been published, in addition to documentation about the presence of atrazine in drinking water, prompting the agency to actively monitor our water supply. You can minimize your exposure to atrazine by buying organic produce, particularly corn.
2. Bisphenol-A (BPA): Traditionally used worldwide in plastics used for food and drink storage, BPA has long been known to mimic estrogen and has been associated with impaired reproductive function, but it’s also an obesogen. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that BPA is responsible for starting a biochemical cascade within fat cells that increases inflammation and promotes fat-cell growth. Anytime you purchase canned goods or food in plastic containers (including bottled water), be sure the product is labeled as “BPA free.”
3. Mercury: Another reason to avoid high-fructose corn syrup (as if you need one): The processing used to make this sweetener leaves small amounts of mercury in the syrup. That may seem inconsequential, but at the rate Americans consume high fructose corn syrup, the added mercury could be a problem. Even if you eliminate HFCS from your diet, canned tuna-a staple in many healthy lunches-can also contain mercury. As long as you stick to no more than three cans of tuna a week, you should be fine. It’s also a good idea to avoid chunk white tuna, which has more than double the mercury of chunk light tuna.
4. Triclosan: Hand sanitizers, soaps, and toothpastes often add triclosan for its antibacterial properties. However, animal studies have shown that this chemical negatively impacts thyroid function. The FDA is currently reviewing all available safety and effectiveness data on triclosan, including information concerning bacterial resistance and endocrine disruption. For now, the FDA considers the chemical safe, but further research needs to be done to determine if and at what dosage triclosan decreases thyroid hormone levels in humans. If you would rather take action now, check the labels of your hand sanitizer, soaps, and toothpaste to be sure triclosan isn’t listed.
5. Phthalates: These chemicals are added to plastics to in order to improve their durability, flexibility, and transparency and are also found in pacifiers, children’s toys, and personal care products such as soap, shampoo, hair spray, and nail polish. Korean researchers found higher levels of phthalates in obese children than in healthy-weight kids, with those levels correlating to both BMI and body mass. Scientists at the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York found a similar relationship between phthalate levels and weight in young girls. In addition to buying phthalate-free baby products and toys (Evenflo, Gerber, and Lego have all said they will stop using phthalates), you can search the Environmental Working Group’s database to check if your bath and beauty products contain any toxins.
6. Tributyltin: While tributyltin is used in an anti-fungal compound on food crops, its primary use is in paints and stains used on boats where it serves to prevent bacterial growth. Animal studies have shown that exposure to this chemical can accelerate the growth of fat cells in newborns. Unfortunately, tributyltin has been found in household dust, making our exposure to it more widespread than initially thought.
Our regulatory agencies all allow these six chemicals to be widely used. This is in spite of any research that shows there are or may be detrimental effects on humans. That opens a whole series of questions and debates that mostly seem to be designed around how to keep these chemicals legal to use instead of what makes Jack and Jill healthy.
Remember when they discovered perchlorate had contaminated drinking water? Perchlorate is a salt used in rocket fuel and explosives and is known to disrupt thyroid function. When plumes of this toxin were traced back to rocket fuel manufacturing sites that dumped the stuff on the ground (cutting edge environmental practice in the 50’s and 60’s), the debate quickly became how much is allowable in our drinking water.
Thyroid damage be damned. It’s rocket fuel in our drinking water. It’s still about how much is ok for us to drink. It’s not rocket science. It’s mos assuredly not about how to clean it up. We’re the guinea pigs here. Anyone else find this disturbing?
Playing the ‘Is It Healthy?” Game is about paying attention to what you put into your mouth.
Distressing News: BPA in Mothers May Harm Newborns
June 18, 2013
Alliance for Natural Health
It’s time to take the BPA fight to the state legislatures. Action Alerts!
Three recent studies paint a bleak picture about both the health risks and the prevalence of bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor.
A Dutch study has found that fetuses of mothers who have high levels of BPA in their systems grow more slowly, have smaller heads, and weigh 20% less at birth compared with babies born to women with the lowest BPA levels.
Moreover, BPA may have multigenerational effects. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Endocrinology demonstrated that exposure to even very low levels of BPA during pregnancy results in adverse behavioral effects in mice carried forward over three generations. The multi-generational effects result from an epigenetic mechanism.
In a third study, children and adolescents with high levels of urinary BPA showed evidence of low-grade albuminuria (where the kidney has experienced damage and is starting to spill some albumin into the urine). Damage at this early stage may have implications for the later development of kidney and cardiovascular disease.
Despite growing evidence to the contrary, FDA’s assessment is that BPA is safe at low levels. The FDA rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban BPA in food containers. ANH-USA’s petition to the Consumer Protection Agency was denied, and we still haven’t received a response to our OSHA petition regarding BPA in thermal register receipts.
Given the federal government’s inaction, if we are to make progress on BPA, it will have to occur at the state level. This approach has already created positive change: the chemical industry voluntarily petitioned the FDA to limit BPA in baby food containers—and of course, since it came from the chemical industry, the FDA listened without commenting on the question of safety!
Action Alerts! If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, or Pennsylvania, please write to your state legislators and ask them to support these important BPA bills:
Connecticut: S.16 would require all food containers containing BPA to be labeled as such. Take Action!
Massachusetts: S.400 would ban BPA in toys, and mandate that manufacturers use the least toxic alternative as a replacement. Take Action!
New York: A.1654 and S.4709 would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of business transaction paper containing BPA; S.3533 would prohibit the sale of toys, as well as liquids, foods, and beverages in containers that are intended for children 3 and younger if they contain BPA. This bill would also require manufacturers to use the least toxic alternative chemical compound to replace BPA. Take Action!
Pennsylvania: H.377 and S.490 would ban BPA in children’s and toddlers’ products, and mandates that manufacturers use the least toxic alternative as a replacement. Take Action!
With the predominant use of plastic bottles and canned food in America, the urgency to take action against increased intake of Bisphenol A (BPA) is vital. With recent studies linking BPA to harming estrogenic effects and infertility, Dr. Bob, D.C., NHD, “The Drugless Doctor” has compiled various all-natural tips to ensure female’s safety from toxic damages.
1) Be Cautious of BPA Heavy Products: Canned foods, lined with high traced of BPA resin, liquid packets, and plastics marked with the number “#7” can all contain high amounts of BPA. It’s best to opt for ceramic, glass, stainless steel, and other “cooking-safe dishware” and avoid all use of any old or stretched polycarbonate bottles.
2) Conduct a Urine Iodine Loading Test: It’s critical to test the iodine level in urine as the element, often disrupted by BPA, is crucial for normal thyroid gland function. The Estronex Urine Profile™ also assesses the risk of developing estrogen sensitive cancers and a collateral damage challenge precipitated by BPA.
3) Limit Gluten Consumption: Gluten is known to create adrenal stress, which in turn causes adrenal exhaustion negating the balance between DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. Optimal adrenal function is necessary to “push” toxic minerals and their counter parts from the body. The imbalances relates to women’s inability to become pregnant, or stay with child.
4) Perform Routine Cleanses: As it is nearly impossible to steer completely clear of BPA exposure, it’s important to cleanse every so often with cleaning herbs, milk thistle, and dandelion root. “Dr. Bob’s Drugless Guide to Detoxification” plans optimal wellness from the body inside and out.
Dr. Bob, “The Drugless Doctor” continually shares clinically proven and time-tested resulted to further enrich and guide patients to optimal health. For more information visit DruglessDoctor.com and his latest “Get to Know” series video.
Lunch at your desk can be a downer, especially when it involves leftovers reheated in the office microwave. But are you putting more into your body than just lukewarm pad thai? Rolf Halden, the director for the Center for Environmental Security at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, stirs the pot.
“We don’t know if and how many people die from plastic exposure,” says Dr. Halden, “but we do know that in the developed world we suffer from a lot of diseases—breast cancer, obesity and early onset puberty—that are less prevalent in developing countries. These are a result of our lifestyle.” He adds:
“From a public health perspective, we should consider heated plastic an unnecessary source of exposure to harmful elements and eliminate it.”
Two to Watch
Since plastic was first synthesized in the early 1900s, it has evolved into everything from lifesaving medical devices to a softening agent in hair conditioner. Plastic is ubiquitous but there are two chemicals in it to watch out for when it comes to what your body ingests.
Phthalates, the chemicals that make a PVC container flexible, “can migrate out of the plastic when it’s heated,” says Dr. Halden, who has done comprehensive studies on emerging contaminants and plastics for more than a decade.
Phthalates can leach into food, resulting in:
- birth defects—although no one knows at what level those effects are triggered, he says.
- Phthalates are present in measurable levels in the blood of nearly every person in the developed world, he adds.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a potentially worse offender. Once tested for possible use as an estrogen replacement, BPA was found to be of better use in the mass production of polycarbonate plastic. It’s used in everything from the lining of metal soup cans to receipt paper. The FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in July 2012, because of growing consumer concerns over its link to developmental delays.
While the recycling numbers at the bottom of plastic items “are not meant to provide health information or risks,” Dr. Halden says, they can sometimes provide clues to the chemicals in them. For example, No. 7, says Dr. Halden, means “there is a high likelihood” that Bisphenol A is in it.
That reusable water bottle sitting on your desk? “Think of it as one big BPA vessel,” he says.
When to Toss It
The amount of chemicals leaching into food depends on the type of plastic that is put in the microwave, the time it is heated and the physical condition of the container, says Dr. Halden. Old, cracked containers and those that have been washed hundreds of times often give off more toxins when heated. Any deformities or discoloration are a sign it’s time for the recycling bin.
And reheating foods heavy in cream and butter in plastic is always a bad idea. “Fatty foods absorb more of these harmful chemicals when heated,” he says.
Another Way to Reheat
Rather than torturing yourself over what plastic is safe, use an inert container such as glass or ceramic, he suggests. Along with cold spots in food that could harbor bacteria, Dr. Halden points to another reason to avoid reheating in the microwave: taste. “Food tastes much better if it is prepared in a hot oven or on the stove, and not cold on the inside and too hot on the outside,” he says.
A version of this article appeared April 22, 2013, on page D4 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: BURNING QUESTION: Is it OK to heat food in plastic?.
Thanks to Dr. Bob, the “Drugless Doctor for these helpful tips. Pay special attention to the first one that explains the produce number codes. You need to know (8,4,9).
Shopping for groceries is an ample and simple errand for some but for many, those seeking healthier produce, the task of finding substantial products can be quite difficult. Dr. Bob, The Drugless Doctor, shares crucial tips to ensure shoppers optimized grocery store visits essential for purchasing healthy products.
1. Important Numbers (8,4,9): The stickers with corresponding bar codes, six-digit numbers, can be found on all produce and crucial for all shoppers. Codes that begin with 8 signify the genetically altered or engineered process. Organic products have codes that start with 9 while 4 constitutes that the product was treated chemically with an herbicide, pesticide or both. Example: Genetically Altered: 843214, Organic: 956734, Conventional: 434522
2. Bisphenol A or BPA: The resin that is found in many recycling and food containers are also used as a coating and lining protector in canned foods. When those products are heated the residue penetrates the food establishing toxic imbalances. Estrogen-type synthetic component are common in BPA so make sure to read labels carefully for a long-termtoxic-free lifestyle.
3. Grass-Fed Meat: The label does not guarantee the item is organic, the USDA organic seal is the only guarantee that nothing has been added. The term “grass-fed” only dictates so much; for all we know the animals could have been restricted or locked up.
4. Sugar Ingredients: Label’s content list will alert shoppers about the presence of sugar and its substitutes. Sugar can be disguised as sugar crystals, liquid organic cane juice, organic sugar, and sucrose. Products labeled as sugar-free may be sweetened with sugar alcohols, with names ending in ol: Mannitol, Xylitol, and Sorbitol which can distress the body system.
5. GMO: Genetically engineered or genetically modified foods do not interface with natural cells and create various chronic health issues. Popular GMO crops include corn, soy, and wheat.