Endocrine Disruptors: The Fly In Our Chemical Soup
Thornton Law Firm LLP on Oct 25, 2013 4:30:00 AM
Long before smartphone applications were sold with the catchphrase “There’s an app for that,” the notion of a cure-all for any situation has always been the province of chemicals. More than ever, we are surrounded by, bathed in, smothered with, and encircled by chemicals. Chemicals are used to improve our appearance, to clean our homes, and to make things “fireproof.” Chemicals are in everything we touch, eat, or bathe in. We are exposed at home, school, and work, affecting us in bed, while driving, or in the shower. Chemicals touch every aspect of modern life – billions and billions of gallons’ worth – every day. There are so many sources of exposure that it is impossible to escape exposure to chemicals. What is the result of the convenience of a chemical for every situation? Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present in every state in America, but there are no new antibiotics on the horizon. The plants and animals we eat contain a potpourri of carcinogens – even “organic” products do not escape contamination. DDT, PCBs, and mercury are so prevalent in our seafood that few species are truly safe to eat – and our favorites, like tuna, can only be safely consumed in very limited portions a few times a year.
Unaware of the dangers, many of us have embraced these chemical solutions with open arms. We douse weeds with Round-up, instead of pulling them. We microwave all manner of plastic food containers never meant to be heated. We eat without thinking of how our food is produced by the enormous agri-business concerns that dominate all American food production. Even when we are not looking for new products, the chemical industry is actively creating “markets” for new demand. Flame retardants, added to furniture and child sleepwear for decades in the U.S., are known to act as “endocrine disruptors.” Endocrine disruptors, also known as hormonally active agents, endocrine disrupting chemicals, or endocrine disrupting compounds, are chemicals that interfere with the body’s endocrine system. Anything that interferes with the body’s hormones is considered an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disrupting chemicals, including flame retardants, increase the incidence of reproductive disease, certain cancers, behavior and learning problems, and asthma. Last year, the Chicago Tribune chronicled the chemical industry’s campaign to manufacture false testimony from “experts,” as to the necessity and effectiveness of flame retardants. As noted in the excellent Chicago Tribune article, 3.4 billion – BILLION – pounds of flame retardants were sold worldwide in 2009.
We need to be more aware of our personal chemical environments. Without vigilance on our part, our society will be left to deal with the toxic legacy of billions of pounds of chemicals produced by a handful of multinational chemical giants. Without regard for the future, these companies will continually replace current products with new models, staying a step ahead of science and regulation. And unlike the problems intended to be solved with chemicals, we will not be able to say, “There’s a cure for that,” when dealing with the inevitable aftermath. By then it will be too late.
Thornton Law Firm has represented consumers and governments affected by toxic and environmental harm for 40 years. The firm’s lawyers have fought the tobacco, lead paint, asbestos, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries successfully on behalf of individual and class clients. If you have questions about your legal rights, call Thornton Law Firm at 888-341-1405 today and a lawyer will be happy to speak with you and answer your questions.