D H
Aug 20 ยท Last update 1 mo. ago.

Should we be concerned about microplastics and hormone disruption?

Microplastics are a distinct pollution problem, present in water, the air, and even the food we eat, especially seafood, scientists have raised concern over the possible health risks microplastics could pose. One such concern is that microplastics and compounds used in the plastics, drugs, and pesticides industries, and in many consumer products, may act as endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs), interfering with how the human body produces and utilises hormones. However the link between microplastics and EDCs is still unclear, as is the degree of absorption and bioaccumulation, and while the effect on the body is well documented research on the realistic levels of exposure and the effects this could have is still fairly low. This subject has therefore generated a lot of controversy with some calling for swift regulation, while others advocating for further study; China, the US, Japan, the EU and the UK have all passed legislation to limit microplastic pollution. So as consumers should we be concerned about microplastics and hormone disruption? Are their possible solutions microplastic pollution regardless of their link the EDCs? Do these compounds need further urgent regulation?
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The effect of endocrine disruptors in the environment is tenuous
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The effect of endocrine disruptors in the environment is tenuous

In 1996 an early key scientific paper that originally raised concerns over endocrine disruptors was retracted after the author was found to have misconducted the research. Subsequent studies have demonstrated that some microplastics do act as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), physiologically or chemically mimicking naturally occurring human hormones, for examples taking on roles of sex hormones such as estrogen. But while some EDCs do in fact act as potent hormones in the body, these investigations are often based on high dose studies, and synthetic endocrine-disruptors in the environment tend to be less bioactive. So studies in vitro make the physiological effects clear but the role these chemicals play in real human populations is an open and unanswered question. For example investigations into consumption of mussels, a shellfish that is particularly well known to bioaccumulate microplastics, found that the risk of ingestion was fairly minor, with exposure to household dust giving rise to higher levels of microplastic exposure than mussels.

grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-003.html safechemicalpolicy.org/endocrine-disrupters sciencebasedmedicine.org/endocrine-disruptors-the-one-true-cause sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969719344468

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D H
Aug 20
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