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Chemical corporations buried report on endocrine disruptors to trade health for profit


Endocrine disruptors

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(NaturalNews) A scientific report linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to a myriad of health effects was reportedly blocked from being published by European Union (EU) officials, according to new investigation by The Guardian.

Endocrine disruptors are foreign substances found in many products, including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plasticizers and cosmetics, that interfere with the human endocrine system. Disrupting the human endocrine system may result in developmental, reproductive, neurological and immunological complications.

The unpublished paper, seen by the British national daily newspaper, recommends ways of identifying and categorizing endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that scientists have linked to "a rise in foetal abnormalities, genital mutations, infertility, and adverse health effects ranging from cancer to IQ loss."

Emerging research continues to prove the health hazards presented by exposure to EDCs, prompting EU scientists to recommend banning as many as 31 pesticides, which hold an economic value in the billions.

However, their recommendations weren't give the chance to move forward due to the paper being buried by top EU officials who were reportedly "under pressure" from big chemical firms including Bayer and BASF, reports The Guardian.

Similar to in the United States, large chemical companies in the EU have a multitude of products containing EDCs, including electronics, cosmetics, plastics and other personal care products.

Eliminating certain EDCs from the market would surely have an enormous financial impact on the chemical industry, thus providing an excellent motive for such corporations to intervene with studies unfavorable to their toxic products.

The Guardian reports:

The unpublished EU paper says that the risks associated with exposure to even low-potency EDCs is so great that potency alone should not serve as a basis for chemicals being approved for use. Its proposed criteria for categorisations of EDCs -- along with a strategy for implementing them -- was supposed to have enabled EU bans of hazardous substances to take place last year.

Endocrine-related diseases continue to soar across the EU

In terms of identify and regulating EDCs, the EU is still far more progressive than the U.S. Last June, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), a non-profit European organization dedicated to addressing environmentally related health affects, released a report[PDF] detailing medical costs caused by EDCs.

Even if EDCs contribute to only 2-5 percent of the total health costs from endocrine-related chronic diseases, EU policy changes such as phasing out these chemicals could save up to 31 billion ($34.7 billion) each year in health costs and lost productivity, according to the report.

The following conditions are currently being investigated for their links to EDCs:
  • reproductive problems including poor semen quality
  • congenital malformations of male sexual organs such as hypospadias (birth defect of the penis) and cryptorchidism (undescended testes)
  • cancer, including of the breast, prostate, testes, endometrium, ovaries and thyroid
  • neurobehavioural disorders, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as thyroid diseases and disorders affecting the brain development of children
  • obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome

A change in European chemicals policy could massively reduce costs associated with cases of hormone-related diseases and conditions

"We were ready to go with the criteria and a strategy proposal as well but we we [sic] were told to forget about it by the secretary general's office," a commission source told The Guardian. "Effectively the criteria were suppressed. We allowed the biocides and pesticides legislation to roll over."

While health costs would predictably decline if EDCs were phased out in the EU, the agriculture industry argues that the "socio-economic effects of pesticide and biocide bans could be ruinous for farming communities," The Guardian reported.

Farmers say that the withdrawal of crop protection products could cost the UK agriculture industry up to 40,000 jobs; however, the Pesticide Action Network counters that, under the proposals currently being considered, no more than seven and as few as zero pesticides would ever be banned.

Additional sources:

http://www.env-health.org[PDF]

http://www.theguardian.com

http://ec.europa.eu[PDF]

http://www.niehs.nih.gov

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