Ever since working as a biological scientist at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, I have been aware of the abundance of synthetic and natural chemicals in our environment that have significant potential for adversely impacting human health.
toThe world of endocrine disruptors was revealed to me. From that point onwards, no pregnant woman within my vicinity, motioning to put her plastic food container in the microwave, has been spared my lecture on bisphenol A (BPA) and the potential risk to her developing child (girl or boy) for developmental and reproductive abnormalities including predisposition to breast or prostate cancer, metabolic disease including obesity, and behavioural effects. Microwaving plastics is the tip of the iceberg since BPA is found in, among a multitude of other products, baby bottles, water bottles, toys, CDs/DVDs, cell phones, liners for most food and beverage cans, dental sealants and flame retardants. And BPA is just one of thousands of chemicals to which we are exposed, many of which have been shown to have potential endocrine disrupting effects, and many of which have yet to be tested. It has continued to perplex me how, in spite of many excellent news and magazine articles, TV documentaries http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4207313.htm, and websites http://www.endocrinedisruption.org on the issue over the years, so few people in my day to day conversations are aware of endocrine disruptors, what they are, where they are, and why we should care about minimising our exposure to them.
So, while my professional journey has taken me away from the bench and led me to hang up my lab coat, I continue to harbour a passion for exploring the evidence on the potential impact of endocrine disruptors on our health and, as a mother of a young daughter who is constantly navigating a world of imported toys and beauty products of unknown chemical content, that of our children. To that end, I have decided to commence a blog series on the subject with the aim of providing a regular update on research from around the world for pregnant women and parents keen to minimise exposure of their children to endocrine disrupting chemicals and anyone who wishes to learn more about this important subject for the ultimate health of our world.