Chemicals are everywhere: in the air we breathe, in the food we eat, in the water we drink, in the cosmetics we use, the shoes we wear or in the toys with which our children play with. Chemicals are part of our daily lives and we are not always aware of how they affect us. Many everyday life products have not been adequately tested and hence pose a serious health. As a result, they can have severe impacts on our health and there is a worrying increase in health problems due to the use of chemicals. The current assessments of chemicals are usually based on the evaluation of single substances, chemical by chemical, looking at how they affect us, but they do not provide us with sufficient security and hence remain dangerous.
Chemicals have the potential to impact adversely the environment during their manufacture, use and disposal. Governments have a role in intervening to ensure that the risks of adverse impacts are managed where that is effective and efficient. Although governments normally regulate teh impact of a number of chemicals with known hazards, teh vast majority of chemicals in use have not been subject to environmental hazard and risk assessment.
Chemiclas can affect biodiversity, climate change, environmental degradation and human health.
Endocrine disruptors EDCs are chemical substances that can disrupt the hormonal system (both in humans and animals) and affect biodiversity and our health.
Endocrine disruptors send mixed messages to the body by mimicking or altering hormones, which can cause various dysfunctions.
Wherever we look, we will find various endocrine disruptors, many effects cannot be seen until later in life, but some effects to the exposure to chemical substances, such as preservatives used in food and creams, or clothes dyes and material used in underwear and pyjamas, have been linked to the increase of numerous allergies and food intolerances. On the long-term basis, there are serious several health effects caused by EDCs which has been reported by the scientific community.
Dr. Marisa López-Teijón, Head of Reproduction Service, Instituto Marquès, Barcelona:“When the human body was designed, it was not planned that it would have to remove or eliminate plastic. All of these substances accumulate in the body because the body does know how to degrade them, just as if a plastic bag was left in the middle of the sea. It keeps swimming but there is no way that nature knows how to remove it”
The endocrine system regulates many functions in animals. Hence, endocrine disruptors can affect the animals and biodiversity at multiple levels. Cancer (prostate, testicular, breast), metabolic disorders (obesity, diabetes), reproductive problems (decreased fertility, early puberty in girls), cardiovascular and neurological problems (memory, motility, attention) are the possible effects of endocrine disruptors. Some of these effects are only visible in the second and third generations, although they have never been directly exposed to these disruptors.