KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, May 27, 2005

We're Doing Ourselves In

Plastic is everywhere, and that's a dangerous thing. A new groundbreaking study implicates phthalate, a chemical that doesn't occur in nature but that is an ingredient in some plastics and cosmetics, in abnormal prenatal male sexual development. For the sake of convenience, we've released a chemical into the environment that is linked to smaller penis size and incomplete testicular descent.

According to InteliHealth, a health-care education site that reported on the study:

A growing body of research suggests that some chemicals used in consumer products may cause public health problems by interfering with sex hormones. A study in the current issue of the journal Endocrinology exposed newborn mice to bisphenol-A, a chemical found in plastics and dental sealants, at doses comparable to those found in the human environment. At puberty the mice were more likely to develop cancer-related mammary duct abnormalities.

"In humans this would cause breast cancer," said Tufts University cell biologist Anna Soto, the study's lead author.

And just do a search on MEDLINE (the huge database of medical journal articles created by the National Institutes of Health) on the string environmental estrogen cancer and you'll come up with hundreds of links to reports on how chemicals that mimic estrogen cause several kinds of cancers in men and women. Many plastics contain estrogen mimics. So do old medications that you flush down the toilet or put into landfills by throwing them in the garbage.

What to do? Cut back severely on your use of plastic containers. Don't flush or throw away old meds; take them to town or county disposal centers for hazardous materials, after you call first to find out what kinds of meds they'll accept.

Don't keep jeopardizing your life and the lives of other people and of animals.

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