Plastics contain and leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which can cause cancer, diabetes, and reproductive disorders, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Endocrine Society.
Plastics containing EDCs are used extensively in packaging, construction, food production, children’s toys, and cosmetics.
Exposure to this chemical can occur during the entire lifespan of the product, from the manufacturing process to consumer contact, recycling, to waste management and disposal.
Conservative estimates suggest that more than a thousand manufactured chemicals in use today are EDCs.
Jodi Flaws, from the University of Illinois, said: ‘Many of the plastics we use every day at home and work are exposing us to a harmful cocktail of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
‘Definitive action is needed on a global level to protect human health and our environment from these threats.’
Pamela Miller, the co-author of the study, added: ‘This report clarifies that the current acceleration of plastic production, projected to increase by 30-36% in the next six years, will greatly exacerbate EDC exposures and rising global rates of endocrine diseases.
‘Global policies to reduce and eliminate EDCs from plastic and reduce exposures from plastic recycling, plastic waste, and incineration are imperative. EDCs in plastics are an international health issue that is felt acutely in the global south where toxic plastic waste shipments from wealthier countries inundate communities.’