Your cash register receipts are making you fat. OK, that may not be exactly the case — but a chemical used in those receipts as well as many other common items has been found to have a link to obesity and diabetes. The chemical is called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and it’s everywhere.
According to the executive summary of a Scientific Statement issued by the Endocrine Society, “Known EDCs include bisphenol A (BPA) found in food can linings and cash register receipts, phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides. The chemicals are so common that nearly every person on Earth has been exposed to one or more.” It’s believed that EDC exposure has cost the European Union 209 billion dollars a year in health care expenses and earning potential.
The threat from these chemicals is that they block or interfere with the body’s natural hormones and create an adverse effect on cell development as a result. Exposure can lead to obesity, diabetes, infertility, hormone-related cancers, neurological issues and other disorders.
“The evidence is more definitive than ever before,” says Andrea C. Gore, Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of the task force that developed the statement. “EDCs disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health.”
The Endocrine Society researchers consider the situation dire and have come up with a plan to combat it. The plan consists of initiatives suggesting further research about potential exposure effects, regulation on the use of the chemicals, and calling upon “green chemists” to provide possible alternatives or solutions to stop EDC usage, among other things.
A recent study showed that people today are eating and exercising the same amount as people 20 years ago (we’ll feature that in an upcoming blog), but the United States is collectively more overweight than ever. One of the reasons could include toxins that we are exposed to — and research such as this adds validity to such claims.