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YOUR ENDOCRINE SYSTEM AND EDCS

The health risks to infants and children

Small children are potentially more at risk of exposure to endocrine disruptors because of their tendency to put things into their mouths. This, together with a higher metabolic rate, means that young children are perhaps more at risk to physiological effects of endocrine disruptors.

Microplastics levels released from baby feeding bottles are now known to be much higher than previously thought – at high temperatures (during sterilisation sterilised) bottles containing polypropylene (PP) the plastic released thousands of microparticles. Study by Dunzhi

In the UK, plastic bottles for infants can only be manufactured using plastics free from Bisphenol (BPA), but polypropylene (PP) which is BPA free, is still considered safe. This highlights the need to continually assess whether exposure to any microplastics poses a risk to infant health. The best advice is to use a glass alternative wherever possible.

Baby Chewing

In the UK, plastic bottles for infants can only be manufactured using plastics free from Bisphenol
(BPA), but polypropylene (PP) which is BPA free, is still considered safe. This highlights the need to continually assess whether exposure to any microplastics poses a risk to infant health. The best advice is to use a glass alternative wherever possible.

EDCs and early childhood development

EDCs are thought to increase the risk of childhood disease during periods of rapid growth. Population studies comparing trends over time* which look at the developmental consequences of exposure to EDCs on physiological development have seen significant rises in childhood obesity rates and lower IQ’s.

For example, Braun in 2016 found a relationship between prenatal exposure to BPAs, polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and phthalates and neurobehavioural changes and increases in childhood obesity.

A Swedish study of 700 children whose mothers were exposed to bisphenol F (BPF) during pregnancy found lower cognitive functions in boys age 7 years when testing them for verbal comprehension and perception, and a higher risk of neurological disorder. Read more.

*Note on epidemiological studies – these are scientific, data driven studies that analyse changes in frequencies and patterns, causes and risks, of illnesses and events (such as low birth weights or lower IQ) in a specified population within a specified geographic area.

Sexual development and puberty

Exposure to EDCs has also been associated with early puberty and genital malformations, especially in boys. The World Health Organisation report 40% of young men in some countries have low semen-quality counts. There is also a trend towards early onset of breast development in girls in countries where this has been studied. Disruptions in normal development of the hypothalamus have been implicated in these trends in a study led by Mughal et al in 2018 and Gore et al in 2008.

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