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E-M:/ Scientists Warn of Chemical Danger to Fetuses
- Subject: E-M:/ Scientists Warn of Chemical Danger to Fetuses
- From: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 25 May 2007 10:50:23 -0400
- Delivered-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- List-name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-to: Tracey Easthope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Title: Scientists Warn of Chemical Danger to
An international scientific conference has
forged a new consensus statement on the importance of fetal exposures
for adult health.
The scientists urged leaders not to
wait for more scientific certainty and recommended that
governments revise regulations and procedures to take into account
subtle effects on fetal and infant development.
This is another in a series of warnings about
our failed regulatory system in the US and in
The statement begins:
and early infancy are periods of remarkable susceptibility to
environmental hazards. Toxic exposures to chemical pollutants during
these windows of increased susceptibility can cause disease and
disability in infants, children, and across the entire span of human
life. Among the effects of toxic exposures recognised in the past have
been congenital malformations and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.
These outcomes may be readily apparent and have been linked to
toxicant exposures during or prior to pregnancy. Even subtle effects
caused by chemical exposures during early development may lead to
important functional deficits and increased risks of disease later in
life. The notion of developmental plasticity of organ functions and
disease risks has gained much support from both experimental and
epidemiological studies. The timing of exposure - with an emphasis
on critical windows of susceptibility - has therefore become a
crucial factor to be considered in toxicological
New research on rodent models shows that developmental exposures
to toxic chemicals, such as the hormonally active substances,
diethylstilbestrol, tributyl tin, bisphenol A, genistein, can increase
the incidence of reproductive abnormalities, metabolic disorders,
including obesity and diabetes, and cancer.
To see the consensus statement:
And to see a sampling of the coverage of the issue in the LA
Times, which has consistently provided extensive coverage of these
Common chemicals pose danger for fetuses,
Exposure to toxic materials in the womb can cause health problems
later in life, an international panel declares.
By Marla Cone, Times Staff Writer
May 25, 2007
In a strongly worded declaration, many of the world's leading
environmental scientists warned Thursday that exposure to common
chemicals makes babies more likely to develop an array of health
problems later in life, including diabetes, attention deficit
disorders, prostate cancer, fertility problems, thyroid disorders and
The declaration by about 200 scientists from five continents amounts
to a vote of confidence in a growing body of evidence that humans are
vulnerable to long-term harm from toxic exposures in the womb and
during their first years.
Convening in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, toxicologists,
pediatricians, epidemiologists and other experts warned that when
fetuses and newborns encounter various toxic substances, growth of
critical organs and functions can be skewed. In a process called
"fetal programming," the children then are susceptible to
diseases later in life - and perhaps could even pass on those
altered traits to their children and grandchildren.
The scientists' statement also contained a rare international call to
action. The effort was led by Dr. Philippe Grandjean of Harvard
University and the University of Southern Denmark, and Dr. Pal Weihe
of the Faroese Hospital System, who have spent more than 20 years
studying children exposed to mercury.
Many governmental agencies and industry groups, particularly in the
United States, have said there is no or little human evidence to
support concerns about most toxic residue in air, water, food and
consumer products. About 80,000 chemicals are registered in the United
Yet the scientists urged leaders not to wait
for more scientific certainty and recommended that governments revise
regulations and procedures to take into account subtle effects on
fetal and infant development.
Chemicals with evidence of developmental effects include
compounds in plastics, cosmetics and pesticides.
"Given the ubiquitous exposure to many environmental
toxicants, there needs to be renewed efforts to prevent harm. Such
prevention should not await detailed evidence on individual hazards,"
the scientists wrote in the four-page statement.