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Bisphenol-A (BPA), used in hard plastics like baby bottles, and brominated flame retardants used in infant mattresses are among hormone-disrupting chemicals.

By Elizabeth Grossman
National Geographic


Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published [recently]. Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics.

“If you applied these [health care] numbers to the U.S., they would be applicable, and in some cases higher,” says Birnbaum, director of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The biggest estimated costs, by far, were associated with chemicals’ reported effects on children’s developing brains. Numerous studies have linked widely used pesticides and flame retardants to neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones, which are essential for proper prenatal brain development.

The researchers concluded that there is a greater than 99 percent chance that endocrine-disrupting chemicals are contributing to the diseases, according to the studies published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Read the full article at National Geographic.