• Are Chemicals Slowly Destroying the Human Race?

    by Dr. Susan Sklar
    on Sep 2nd, 2014

A new study in the Aug. 14th Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed a relation between levels of phthalate, a chemical used in plastics, and testosterone levels in men, women and children.  In a previous blog I reported on a study in mice that showed decreased male territorial behavior with phthalate exposure.  This new study confirms a relationship in humans. This study actually measured the phthalate levels in urine and the testosterone levels in 2,200 people.   While the study cannot prove actual cause and effect, there is certainly a smoking gun.

While we usually think of testosterone as the male hormone, it is important for women and children.  It is responsible for reproductive development, brain function, bone density, physical growth, strength and heart health.  Low testosterone is very concerning at all ages.  Along with the rise in environmental toxins, there has been a decrease in male sperm count and an increase in genital deformities in boy infants.  In boys 6-12 there has been a 25-35% drop in testosterone levels.  In adult men between age 40 and 60 there was a significant decrease in testosterone also.  This has important public health implications because of effects on muscle strength, bone density, energy, and libido.  There may be increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and erectile dysfunction.

Where do you get exposed to phthalates?
They are put in plastics to make them more flexible and they are put in lotions to help penetrate the skin. Phthalates are used in an enormous range of products, including air fresheners, plastic toys, flooring tiles,  cosmetic and personal-care products (including fragrances and nail polish), vinyl, inks and adhesives. Phthalates are also used as food additives and as inert ingredients in pesticides.

Is our government looking out for you?  Read this excerpt from the Environmental Working Group website:
No premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012) The FDA does no systematic reviews of safety, instead authorizing the cosmetics industry to self-police ingredient safety through its Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel. Over its 36 years, this industry panel has rejected only 11 ingredients as unsafe in cosmetics (CIR 2012). By contrast, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics (European Commission 2012).

What to do?
Buy products that are free of phthalates.
Avoid buying plastics that may be treated with phthalates, including vinyl toys, shower curtains and gloves. Look out for “PVC,” “V” or the”3″ recycling code on the item or its packaging. Choose instead toys such as phthalate-free Legos or those made of unpainted solid wood and finished with tung oil or beeswax blocks. Ask for dolls that are phthalate-free. The Environmental Working Group has a helpful website. www.ewg.org
If you have vinyl flooring in your home, damp mop regularly since phthalates bind to dust on the floor. Direct sunlight on vinyl tiles causes them to release phthalates more quickly, so put lower blinds on windows that shine directly on flooring. Finally, if you’re already considering replacing your flooring, choose nonvinyl options such as cork, linoleum, wood or stone.

Author Dr. Susan Sklar

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