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New UN Report reveals effects of human and wildlife exposure to chemicals

New UNEP and WHO report shows link between man made chemicals and the emergence of diseases ;disorders in humans and some wildlife
New UN Report reveals effects of human and wildlife exposure to chemicals

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals entering the environment:photo courtesy of UNEP

Feb 20, 2013

Nairobi, 19 February 2013 - Many synthetic chemicals, untested for their disrupting effects on the hormone system, could have significant health implications according to the State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The joint study calls for more research to understand fully the associations between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)-found in many household and industrial products-and specific diseases and disorders. The report notes that with more comprehensive assessments and better testing methods, potential disease risks could be reduced, with substantial savings to public health.

Human health depends on a well-functioning endocrine system to regulate the release of certain hormones that are essential for functions such as metabolism, growth and development, sleep and mood. Some substances known as endocrine disruptors can change the function(s) of this hormonal system increasing the risk of adverse health effects. Some EDCs occur naturally, while synthetic varieties can be found in pesticides, electronics, personal care products and cosmetics. They can also be found as additives or contaminants in food.

The UN study, which is the most comprehensive report on EDCs to date, highlights some associations between exposure to EDCs and health problems including the potential for such chemicals to contribute to the development of non-descended testes in young males, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, developmental effects on the nervous system in children, attention deficit /hyperactivity in children and thyroid cancer.

EDCs can enter the environment mainly through industrial and urban discharges, agricultural run-off and the burning and release of waste. Human exposure can occur via the ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and skin contact.

"Chemical products are increasingly part of modern life and support many national economies, but the unsound management of chemicals challenges the achievement of key development goals, and sustainable development for all," said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Read more at:http://www.unep.org/NewsCentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2704&ArticleID=9403

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