Our Endocrine system regulates hormones that influence every cell, tissue, organ and function in our bodies. The endocrine system regulates mood, growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.
- An endocrine disruptor is a chemical that alters normal function of this system. A variety of chemicals have been found to disrupt the endocrine system; some mimic hormones, while others can block these hormones from doing their job.
- In their everyday lives, women are exposed to combinations of potential endocrine disrupting chemicals through personal care products, certain plastics and pesticides, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, foods and beverages. These exposures occur throughout a woman’s lifetime.
- Although there are a multitude of potentially endocrine disrupting chemicals that can be studied, Mount Sinai School of Medicine has chosen to focus on three common exposures: diethyl phthalate , methylparaben , and triclosan . All have some evidence of hormonal activity that is suspected to produce adverse health effects.
Triclosan– Commonly used antimicrobial found in personal care and household products ranging from toothpaste, deodorant and hand soap to cutting boards and inner soles of shoes.
- The hormonal activity of triclosan has not been clearly established and results of many investigations are conflicting.
- Dermal and oral exposure are the main exposure routes and triclosan has been measured in breast milk indicating that this chemical may act directly on breast tissue. http://www.ewg.org/node/26701
- There is limited research on triclosan exposure and breast cancer risk.
Methylparaben– Commonly used as antimicrobial preservatives in personal care products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and in the processing of foods and beverages.
- Parabens have been hypothesized to play a role in breast cancer due to their potential estrogen activity.
- There is limited research on paraben exposure and breast cancer risk.
Diethyl Phthalate– Exposures are high because they are so widely used.
- Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is found more often in personal care products (fragrances, shampoo, cosmetics and nail polish).
- Not required to be on product labels, including medications.
- Phthalates mimic estrogen, not only do these affect females but they also have anti-androgenic effects on males. In both male and females these chemical exposures may have adverse reproductive outcomes.
Studies and publications on the adverse health effects of triclosan, methylparaben and diethyl phthalate can be found below.
Our daily exposures add up. How many times a day do you use cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and/or perfumes? Does this combination have toxic effects on health?
With ubiquitous exposure to Endocrine Disrupters (EDs) and rising concerns about the health consequences of these chemicals, studying the role of EDs in breast carcinogenesis is urgently needed. In addition, it is highly important from the public health point of view to develop intervention strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of EDs. Should the epidemiologic findings and results from animal studies support the role of EDs in breast cancer etiology, public health recommendations should be implemented. Choices and changes in your everyday behaviors also can be easily applied.
It is important as a community to increase our awareness.
Studies and publications on Adverse Health Effects of Triclosan, Methylparaben, Diethyl Phthalate (Phthalates)