Catalyst: Our Chemical Lives

We recently came across an insightful and, at times, alarming video aired on ABC Catalyst. Titled ‘Our Chemical World’ the piece focused on the ubiquitous presence of chemicals in our everyday existence. What concerns investigative journalist Dr Maryanne Demasi is the safety of these chemicals and whether or not there is adequate regulation and sufficient testing prior to the exposure of these synthetics.

One of the most concerning revelations of the cogently concise video was the impact particular chemicals have on our endocrine system.

Comprised of a collection of glands, the endocrine system secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream, which then regulates metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, and reproduction amongst other things. Furthermore, this is affecting foetuses during development.

According to Laureate Professor John Aitken, “Mothers are being exposed to chemicals during pregnancy. These chemicals are somehow finding their way across the placenta directly into the foetus and having an impact on the normal pattern of development”.

One of the functions of the placenta is to detoxify the natural oestrogens from the mother and stop them from crossing into the foetus. But, some synthetic chemicals, particularly BPA, while they have oestrogen and endocrine activity, are not recognized by detoxification enzymes and consequently pass right through the placenta. As a consequence the natural development of children is at threat and can alter the natural secretion of the endocrine system.

We hold the opinion of many scientists and researchers who feature in ‘Our Chemical World’ that we are in the midst of an uncontrolled, human experiment where the regulatory entities are acting too slowly.

According to Dr. Maryanne Demasi, expects believe that “the rise in the use of industrial chemicals is linked to issues like lower IQ, cancer and reproductive problems”. Researchers such as Laureate Professor John Aitken and Professor Peter Sly are increasingly perturbed by the material that’s accumulating.  And rightly so. The body of research that highlights the danger towards children who are exposed to chemicals, particularly BPA, is utterly alarming.

A product that acts as an endocrine disruptor should have no existence in the marketplace.

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