WHO study highlights dangerous chemicals

Chemicals are the building blocks of life but synthetic chemicals in numerous combinations can be incredibly dangerous.

A new study by the WHO has alarming news that over 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals). Our endocrine system is our hormone system, which means that ECDs are capable of interfering with hormone receptors. As you can imagine, messing with the hormone system can have negative consequences. The WHO report links ECDs to increasing rates of cancer and other health problems such as infertility and asthma.

Scarily, ECDs are often in common household products such as hair products, some skin care products, dry cleaning, and cleaning products. The frightening truth is emerging around chemicals like Triclosan which can be found in some deodorants and anti-bacterial soaps and has serious risks to the food chain. When we wash products with Triclosan down the sink, can enter our chlorinated sewage systems and this leads to the creation of harmful dioxins.

Often product labelling can help people avoid these harmful chemicals but first you have to know what they are. Given that there are hundreds of them, sometimes with complex formula and brand names, this is a difficult task. Even more worrisome is the fact that some 145,000 chemicals are yet to be tested for their hormone disrupting properties.

The Green Party would suggest that people do their best to buy genuinely safe eco products when they can afford them. We suggest that every household checks out what cleaning and personal care products you are regularly buying and keep a sharp eye out for greenwashing and false marketing. For a start avoid any product containing Triclosan, Bisphenol A or Cyclomethicone.

A green approach to chemistry is needed and the Government need to change the way they assess hazardous chemicals based on the serious issues in this WHO report.

26 thoughts on “WHO study highlights dangerous chemicals

  1. Pharmaceutical companies get rich through cancer….. nobody addresses the causes of it…. ….

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  2. Triclosan has been getting ingested by millions of humans for a good couple of decades now, with no noticeable issues, as it is one of the key active ingredients in Colgate Total. Given the potential lawsuit for getting that wrong would bankrupt Colgate-Palmolive, it is a fair assumption that this is either a ticking timebomb (which hasn’t created any effects as of yet), or scaremongering.

    There is no scientific difference between “synthetic” or natural chemicals, so the dichotomy advanced at the beginning of this post is nonsense. The vast majority of chemical elements are bad for your health in pure form in any meaningful quantities. A pure oxygen atmosphere will kill you, for example. The claim that 145,000 chemicals haven’t been tested is ludicrous too, since nature contains easily a vast range that haven’t been tested as well.

    Furthermore, the claim of “genuinely eco-safe” tends to be self-certified, and the retailers funnily enough sometimes price such products at a premium to capture the dimwitted consumer with more money than understanding of science.

    There is a useful story around people using simple substances like lemon juice as a cleaner and the like, and to be careful about the use of chemicals especially around children.

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  3. I think that there is a relevant distinction, but it’s not exactly natural/artificial. It’s more like metabolisable/nonmetabolisable (with allowances for metabolisable things with bad effects, like frank poisons). So the claim for triclosan is that, in a chlorinated environment, it’s breakdown products are bad. That’s likely to depend critically on the chlorine form and concentration, and the process conditions.

    I’m not sure what people used before cyclomethicone (which has a number of nice short-term properties, according to my search engine), and I wouldn’t recognise a better alternative if it was offered, so I’m only half-educated.

    On casual inspection, I reject the claim that lemon juice is a simple substance.

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  4. incredibly dangerous…alarming….negative consequences….increasing rates of cancer….health problems…infertility and asthma…..Scarily….frightening….serious risks….harmful dioxins…..harmful chemicals…..worrisome…hormone disrupting properties….geenwashing and false marketing….Triclosan, Bisphenol A or Cyclomethicone…..hazardous chemicals….serious issues

    Nothing like a reasoned, scientific position, then. Does this alarmist rhetoric play well with some voters?

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  5. The accumulative toxic effects of substances used in everyday applications around the home, usually will not appear until months or years down the track. Tolerance levels will also vary from user to user – making the product which contains the key toxic / carcinogenic substances, look what initially seems like a benign safe product to the user, in actual fact a killer over time. The user may follow instructions for ‘safe’ use, but because certain elements in the product are inherently lethal the user has no knowledge and no protection.

    The law should require the onus is on the company to prove their cleaning product [ or whatever the product may be ] and the ingredients used within it are 100% safe – like Peter Dunne prescribes for sale of synthetic cannabis products. Until the product is proven to be safe, sale should be prohibited and banned. No one deserves to be exposed to toxic and potentially lethal substances, and have their health compromised and life shortened because products are rushed to market. The disturbing trend with genetically modified food, and the advancement of nanoparticles etc. into consumer products needs to be seriously looked at and halted. We don’t fully understand the potential health affects to humans and the environment, but time and again Monsanto et al. are allowed to release what inevitably could be ticking time bombs into the community. Totally unacceptable. . .

    What we need to determine is whose interest do we place first? The healthy profits of a multinational corporation, or the health and safety interests of the individual consumer? Moreover, with trading agreements such as the TPPA edging ever closer to the realm of reality, the profitability of a business will supersede any other interests or concerns of affected parties. Laws and regulations used to implement health & safety, will be negated to protect the profits margins of parasitic businesses in their host country. Utterly insidious, the host government of said corporation will be sued i.e. Taxpayers punished. If profit growth is stymied in any way by pesky laws and regulations. Absolutely unacceptable on every level of what is right and just.

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  6. The disturbing trend with genetically modified food, and the advancement of nanoparticles etc. into consumer products needs to be seriously looked at and halted. We don’t fully understand the potential health affects to humans and the environment, but time and again Monsanto et al. are allowed to release what inevitably could be ticking time bombs into the community. Totally unacceptable. . .

    I absolutely agree.

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  7. Then you won’t be drinking water, as it’s impossible to prove it is safe. Absolutely nothing you do tomorrow will be 100% safe. Going out in the sun is likely to cause you more damage than trace levels of pesticides.

    We must determine the degree of risk. Scaremongering doesn’t help anyone determine the truth regarding risk.

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  8. “Arana-logic” allows for any and every harmful substance to be freely available to everybody, because any one of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s worse than a little paraquat in your porridge, isn’t it!!!
    “Arana-logic”, think of it as the answer to everything.

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  9. “The Green Party would suggest that people do their best to buy genuinely safe eco products when they can afford them.”
    (emphasis mine)

    You can’t argue with that excellent advice.

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  10. Liberty – Attention to the “chlorinated environment” part of that? It doesn’t get ugly until it goes downstream. Colgate could easily not have tested for that as it isn’t a human health issue in its product – we don’t commonly brush teeth with pool water.

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  11. “Arana-logic”

    No, the problem is your inability to understand my point.

    Everything has a degree of risk. Assesses the risk. If risk is considerable, then address.

    For example, the risk of dying from drinking a lot of soft drink is very low. It’s possible, but low. If you apply the 100% rule, then no soft drinks can be sold. Similarly, 450 people per year in the US die from falling out of bed. Is a bed 100% safe? No.

    In the case of EDCs, take the same approach. What is the degree of risk? If it is outside acceptable limits, then act.

    Alarmist scaremongering is not enlightening. “Buying eco products” appears to be the agenda. Perhaps Catherine would like to prove “eco products” are “100% safe”?

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  12. I lived in the UK during the “mad cow” scare. The terrible danger posed by meat product that would kill us all.

    Had anyone in the media bothered to ask the question, it turned out that the risk of dieing on the way to the butchers to buy meat was greater than the risk of dieing from becoming a mad cow.

    All risk is relative, but we the great unwashed are very poor at judging risk in context.

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  13. It’s easy to scaremonger that A, B and C *may* cause death, because everything *may* cause death. That doesn’t really tell us anything.

    How *likely* are Triclosan, Bisphenol A or Cyclomethicone to cause serious problems? How likely relative to anything else we do i.e going out in the sun or, in this case, buying supposed “eco” products?

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  14. …the risk of dying from drinking a lot of soft drink is very low.

    It won’t happen over night, but it will happen.

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  15. Arana-logic #1

    “The risk of dying from drinking a lot of soft drink is very low. It’s possible, but low. If you apply the 100% rule, then no soft drinks can be sold.”

    “Perhaps Catherine would like to prove “eco products” are “100% safe”?”

    Good grief.

    Then we have:

    “Everything *may* cause death. That doesn’t really tell us anything.”

    So, you’re advocating that people disregard the warnings on cigarette packets, because “that doesn’t really tell us anything.”?

    Good grief.

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  16. So, you’re advocating that people disregard the warnings on cigarette packets, because “that doesn’t really tell us anything.”?

    No, that would be a straw man. You can argue against yourself, if you wish.

    The 100% qualification is from Vaughn’s post who is demanding a level of safety in life that is childish and impossible.

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  17. Nothing is completely safe, including eco-products.

    Risk assessment is more productive and meaningful than emotive scaremongering and demands for the impossible.

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  18. Please copy/paste from Catherine’s post those ‘demands for the impossible’ you cite, Arana (leave out the Arana-logic, just paste the evidence – thanks)

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  19. She doesn’t – Vaughn does. Did you read his post?

    I was illustrating why HIS demand was ridiculous. He demands the impossible(100% safe).

    Glad you agree with me that nothing can be made 100% safe.

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  20. As usual the RWNJs here ignore the science and throw up straw men. From Catherine’s link to the World Health Organization report:

    http://unep.org/pdf/9789241505031_eng.pdf

    Evidence for endocrine disruption in
    humans and wildlife (chapter 2)

    Over the last decade, scientific understanding of the
    relationship between exposure to endocrine disruptors
    and health has advanced rapidly. There is a growing
    concern that maternal, fetal and childhood exposure to
    EDCs could play a larger role in the causation of many
    endocrine diseases and disorders than previously believed.
    This is supported by studies of wildlife populations and
    of laboratory animals showing associations between
    exposure to EDCs and adverse health effects and by the
    fact that the increased incidence and prevalence of several
    endocrine disorders cannot be explained by genetic factors
    alone.

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  21. As usual the RWNJs here ignore the science and throw up straw men.

    Some of us are advocating scientific assessment of risk and taking a dim view of emotive BS.

    Endocrine disrupting chemicals are also found in natural food. Plant phytoestrogens (isoflavones) can produce hormonal effects and is present in nuts, oilseeds and soy products. They can also disrupt the hormonal regulation of the balance of minerals and fluids in blood and various organs.

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  22. The EFSA have a report coming out soon: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/121001a.htm . Are they RWNJs, because they take the exact same stance I do.

    Endocrine activity is only one of a number of different toxicological effects which EFSA’s scientists regularly take into consideration during the four stages of the Risk Assessment Process:

    Hazard identification – the identification of adverse health effects caused by biological, chemical, and physical agents that may be present in a particular food and feed or group of foods and feeds.

    Hazard characterisation – the qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the nature of the adverse health effects associated with biological, chemical and physical agents that may be present in food and feed.

    Exposure assessment – the quantitative estimation of the likely exposure of humans and animals to the food and feed derived from the biological, chemical and physical agents that may be present in food and feed.

    Risk characterisation – the qualitative and/or quantitative estimation, including attendant uncertainties, of the probability of occurrence and severity of known or potential adverse health effects in a given population based on hazard identification, hazard characterization and exposure assessment.

    Science and reason. If EDCs pose undue risk, then of course it should be mitigated. You first need to quantify the degree of risk before jumping straight to alarmist mode.

    In this case, I suspect a political agenda is behind the alarmist rhetoric.

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  23. Arana – I think the problem is that over at least the last century many products have been developed by scientists, pronounced to be a wonderful solution to some problem, manufactured and released into the environment, then later they have been found to be toxic in one way or another, to humans or wildlife …

    That’s why we now have a Green Party to oppose this short sighted way of doing things, and that’s why the Green Party is getting increasing support these days.

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  24. No one has to believe me, but the WHO research is not radical science. As for Triclosan and no noticeable damage?, check out the WHO study and many others on links to a huge drop in male fertility and levels of prostate cancer. If you don’t think synthetic chemicals can be deadly have a chat to Joe Harawira and the Whakatane sawmill workers.

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  25. I likw most people think that ‘flyspray is not harmful so I paid for my brand new home is be sprayed – $400,000.00 damage to my home, burnt skin, health affects. A safe invisable flyspray was supposed to be sprayed. What I made my house inhabitable. My 6 plus years in the High Court battling to prove that the applicator could only have used two product in his possession – both of these are highly toxic – Dursban – Chlorpyrifos, and Responsar – Beta cyfluthrin the applicator is hiding behind his and mine (both the same insurer)- and the insurer is hiding behind very well paid scientists, and even better paid barristers. If people believe pesticides are safe, step into my life – photos of skin damage, 2 pets dying, damage to property. The applicator is a NZ/AK Steam N Dry Carpet and Pest Applicator what they write about themselves is not the truth … beware

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