(Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2009) The Endocrine Exchange (TEDX) has released a new database on the prenatal origins of endocrine disruption, called Critical Windows of Development. It compares human development in the womb with laboratory research showing where and when low-dose exposures to chemicals have effects. The timeline currently charts three chemicals: dioxin, bisphenol A (BPA), and phthalates. TEDX plans to expand the database to include PCBs, PBDEs, DDT, and other endocrine-disrupting pesticides.
Examples of conclusions from the prenatal exposure research include: BPA affects development of the male and female reproductive systems, increases susceptibility to breast cancer and alters behavior in adult animals; Phthalates decrease sperm production and increase body weight; and, dioxin affects male reproduction and the immune system.
Before a baby is born it is exposed to a myriad of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs interfere with the delicate system of vital hormones, glands and organs that control how a baby develops and functions throughout life. EDCs such as BPA, dioxin and phthalates can penetrate the womb and cause adverse effects at extremely low exposure levels. These chemicals are found in water bottles, food cans, dental resins, cleaning products, cosmetics, fragrances, packaging and construction material, cars, planes, recreational and electronic equipment, baby bottles, toys, and many other products that we come into contact with daily.
According to Dr. Theo Colborn, TEDX President and originator of the database, “The unprecedented global increases in endocrine-related disorders such as autism, other learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive problems, diabetes, obesity, thyroid problems, breast, prostate, and testicular cancer and more, signal the need for a crash program in ”˜inner-space’ research. The roles of contaminants in the womb must be addressed before it is too late.”
Chemical and product manufacturers state that we need more research to “prove” that chemicals cause harm. Researchers at TEDX say that for many chemicals, that is not true. They have reviewed hundreds of peer-reviewed papers on BPA, dioxin, and phthalates, and condensed their findings into an easy-to-use interactive website program. More chemicals will be added to the database in 2009.
Carol F. Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., Executive Director of TEDX says, “The Critical Windows of Development presents the big picture of how endocrine disrupting chemicals affect numerous developing systems. It is an invaluable tool for scientists to guide future research, for medical professionals to promote reduced exposure, for the media to better inform the public, and to assure legislators of the need to create protective regulations.”