Coverage in Glamour Magazine
Melinda Wenner Moyer of Glamour Magazine covers the continuing story of environmental toxins and the impact on women's health. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, UCSF Associate Professor and Director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment is quoted throughout the article. A summary appears below. Please follow this link to the complete article.
. . . Scientists began to pinpoint some of the possible health risks of certain everyday chemicals back in the 1970s and 1980s, and what they found was startling: Many common chemicals may act like hormones or interfere with a woman's own endocrine, or hormonal, system. (This came as no surprise; scientists first developed one chemical, bisphenol A, or BPA, in the 1930s with the hope of using it as a synthetic estrogen drug.)
Why is the disruption of our hormones a problem? Because hormones aren't just responsible for menstrual cycles and fertility; they are the messengers our cells rely on to communicate just about everything, explains Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., director of the University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. When you've eaten enough to sustain your body, it's hormones that tell your brain to put down your fork. When one of your eggs has fully matured, it's hormones that make your ovary release it. Muck with such a finely tuned process, and there's bound to be trouble.
Yet less than one percent of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have ever been safety tested. And many of those products have never been approved by the FDA: It simply isn't required that items we handle be tested as thoroughly as, say, medications we ingest. But in one study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 93 percent of Americans had BPA in their body. In essence, says Woodruff, "we're performing a national experiment on ourselves while we continue to use these chemicals."