Pregnancy, thyroid | April 19, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Plastic is all around us. You can find it in your food and drink packaging, shoe soles and garden hoses, toys, household white goods, computers, piping, insulation, cars and more.
Australia is a major consumer of plastics. One report estimates that in 2011 there was 2.188 million tonnes of plastic waste generated in Australia. In addition, we buy 118, 000 tonnes of plastic bottles each year.
Only certain plastics are currently recyclable. Most plastic is not biodegradable, and even the most biodegradable plastic takes a long time to break down. Plastic ends up in landfill and remains there for hundreds of years, never breaking down. Additionally, plastic waste accounts for up to 80% of all litter found in the world’s oceans, affecting the ecosystem and posing risks to turtles, whales, dolphins, and sea birds that mistake it for food and ingest it, or get entangled in it, restricting their movement and causing injury.
Exposure to certain compounds in plastic can have an impact on hormonal activity. The term used for these hormonally active chemicals is endocrine disruptors; meaning they can mimic the effects of natural hormones in our body, especially oestrogen, and potentially having a significant impact on human health. Children are more susceptible to exposure to endocrine disruptors.
High levels of endocrine disruptors in the body have been linked to increased risk of cancer, thyroid disorders, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and infertility.
Perhaps the best-known endocrine disruptor with hormonal activity is BPA. It is used in the production of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins – these are the plastic coatings lining the inside of food and beverage cans.
It is thought that BPA can leach over time into food and drinks from containers. BPA had been found in amniotic fluid and in the milk of nursing mothers, suggesting that exposure could begin prenatally, in the uterus, and affect birth weight, growth and development, as well as gene expression. In 2010, the Australian Government announced a voluntary phase out of BPA use in polycarbonate baby bottles.
Another category of endocrine disruptor that are hazardous for the body includes Phthalates. Phthalates are added to plastics to make them more pliable. You may found them in:
Phthalates can leach and enter the body through ingestion or inhalation. A US study found a link between premature birth and phthalates.
ABC News, 2013. Common plastics chemical linked to pre-term births. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-19/common-plastics-chemical-linked-to-pre-term-births/5101828
Bloomberg Alliance, Senate Inquiry: The threat of marine plastic pollution in Australia. Available at: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/boomerangalliance/pages/158/attachments/original/1445317763/Environment_Communications_marine_plastic_sub77.pdf?1445317763
British Plastics Federation, 2018. Plastic Applications. Available at: http://www.bpf.co.uk/plastipedia/applications/default.aspx
Cleanup Australia 2009. Plastic Recycling Fact Sheet. Available at: https://www.cleanup.org.au/PDF/au/cua_plastic_recycling_fact_sheet.pdf
De Coster, S & van Larebeke, N., 2012. Review Article: Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Associated Disorders and Mechanisms of Action. Hindawi Publishing Corporation Journal of Environmental and Public Health Volume 2012, Article ID 713696. Available at: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/713696/
Food Standards Australia New Zealand, 2018. Bisphenol A (BPA). Available at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/bpa/Pages/default.aspx
Greenpeace Australia Pacific, 2017. Australia’s Plastic Problem: What, why & how? Available at: https://www.greenpeace.org.au/blog/australias-plastic-problem/
Heindel, J.J., 2003. Endocrine Disruptors and the Obesity Epidemic. Toxicological Sciences, 76(2), pp.247–249. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/toxsci/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/toxsci/kfg255
Maffini, M. V. et al., 2006. Endocrine disruptors and reproductive health: The case of bisphenol-A. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 254–255, pp.179–186. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16781053
Schell, L.M., Gallo, M. V & Cook, K., 2012. What’s NOT to eat--food adulteration in the context of human biology. American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council, 24(2), pp.139–48. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22262531