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January 31, 2022

Endocrine disrupting chemicals as a risk factor in pregnancy

A team based in Chongqing, China have carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of associations between exposure to EDCs during pregnancy and thyroid hormones in newborns. This area of study is controversial because it’s difficult to make scientifically robust connections between maternal exposure to EDCs and thyroid outcomes in newborns, but this research team found that there were some negative associations between thyroid levels and pre-natal exposure to EDCs.


They carried out an across-the-board review of EDCs, and found evidence that two groups of EDCs had a negative influence – organochlorine and PFAS. The study concluded that exposure to both types of EDC was associated with lower neonatal levels of TT4, a key measure for neonatal thyroxine, an important hormone controlling growth.


What are these chemicals and where are they found?


Organochlorines were widely used as pesticides until they were banned in many countries around the world in the 1980’s. They fall into a group called POP’s (persistent organic pollutants), known to remain in soil for many years.


PFAS is known as a “forever chemical” and is still widely used in up to 75% of waterproof products, and to provide resistance to stains. PFAS has recently been detected in British otters by research student Emily O’Rourke at Cardiff University who reiterates that this chemical group has entered the watercourse from landfill and farm waste.
Read the full study.


Other news this week – How clean is our indoor air?


Living through a pandemic has made us more aware of the quality of the air we breathe when indoors. Building Regulations dating back to 2010 focus on key chemical groups such as CO2 and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), so when will the regulations catch up with our recent focus on clean air quality as essential?


New rules come into place in June 2022 with additional clauses for Indoor air quality monitoring, but they still focus largely in CO2 levels, but it’s a step in the right direction and recognition of the link between indoor air quality and wellness. More information – Updated approved document F


Educating future generations

A new Climate Education Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons in January, sponsored by Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East. The bill calls for ‘matters relating to climate change and sustainability to be integrated throughout the curriculum in primary and secondary schools and included in vocational training courses; and for connected purposes. If approved, the bill would place climate change at the heart of our education system as a curriculum requirement for all primary and secondary schools; we fully support that.

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