World Health Report Exposes Dangers to Young Endocrine Systems

Little hands wind the music box again so growing feet can continue their dancing.  The sisters dressed as princesses take turns twirling, finally dancing in tandem until I insist that the music box go quiet.  

It's a parenting moment when I wish they'd stay this age forever.  I'm anxious about the prospect of early puberty, diabetes and other health problems that are on the rise in young people today.  I can't help wondering what they've inherited from me.  Not just a genetic predisposition for a health problem; but something perhaps I, or even my mother, was exposed to in the womb, now that we know environmental exposures can be handed down from generation to generation. 

A new report out in February from the World Health Organization and United Nations Environment Programme emphasizes the need to address how endocrine disrupting chemicals or EDCs are endangering our health and homes.  The study recommends more comprehensive testing and research of EDCs.  It also points out the need for more thorough reporting and data sharing between scientists and countries on this environmental health topic.

"Research has made great strides in the last ten years showing endocrine disruption to be far more extensive and complicated than realized a decade ago," said the Chief Editor Professor Ake Berman of Stockholm University.  "As science continues to advance, it is time for both management of endocrine disrupting chemicals and further research on exposure and effects of these chemicals in wildlife and humans."  

Research by science groups like the Endocrine Society let us know that the delicate system that regulates our body's reproduction, metabolism and development may be at risk from EDCs.  These might be found in an industrial plant, a farm field, or in products we purchase for our homes and families every day.   The WHO report stresses that unborn babies are especially vulnerable to EDCs, as are children and young adults passing developmental milestones.  Better information can help us take a precautionary approach to what our children will be exposed to and perhaps reduce their health risks.

You can read more here about the new EDC report.
Read more here about the Endocrine Society's research on hormone health.

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