We all know about industrial pollution and climate change, but there’s a new threat to the environment much closer to home – pharmaceutical and personal care product pollution (PPCP). Experts are increasingly worried that marine life across America is showing us the harm it’s doing to our planet and ourselves.
What’s Happening to the Environment?
In river basins around the country, the United States Geological Survey has found fish with both female and male sex organs. Intersex frogs are also popping up all over. And experts have found evidence of chemicals called endocrine disruptors, such as atrazine (an herbicide) and Bisphenol-A (BPA) in the country’s water supplies.
What are Endocrine Disruptors?
These chemicals alter the actions of hormones in our body, which can hurt us in 2 ways. First, they can block our hormones from acting as they normally would, and, secondly, they can act like hormones triggering effects that may include early onset puberty in adolescents.
What’s Happening to Us?
Breast cancer rates are increasing, girls are entering puberty earlier, sperm counts and testosterone levels are falling drastically, and certain genital abnormalities are on the rise.
What Should We Watch Out For?
Though the evidence is not definitive, experts fear that products we are introducing into our environment could be to blame, and they are urging us to decrease the use of certain chemicals. Here’s what to look for:
Bisphenol-A (BPA)You may have heard about BPA, the chemical used to make hard plastics, line cans, and create carbonless receipts. It’s proven to raise the risk of breast cancer in rats and the FDA has raised an alarm about the potential harm BPA can cause; Connecticut even banned its use in children’s products.
Ninety-three percent of us have BPA in our bodies. We live with it, and we excrete it when we go to the bathroom, sending the chemical into the environment.