How many chemicals are freely available for commercial use in the United States?
There are over 87,000 chemicals currently registered and available for commercial use in the United States…..to make all kinds of things like plastics, cosmetics, food additives and preservatives, computers, fabrics, toys, furniture, cars, etc.
How many of these 87,000+chemicals have been tested for toxicity and human safety?
Fewer than 300.
How many new chemicals are registered for use every year?
Over 1,000, new chemicals, with little or no testing for health issues, are added every year.
How many chemicals have been banned in the U.S. since 1976? In Europe?
5 chemicals have been banned in the U.S. since 1976.
Over 1,100 chemicals have been banned for use in Europe, due to health and safety risks.
Out of the 87,000+ chemicals in use, how many are regulated in our tap water under the US Safe Drinking Water Act passed in 1976?
Just 90 (91 in New Jersey) chemicals are actually federally regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1976. Many more chemicals are detected but NOT regulated OR corrected, when found in our commercial tap water. Chemicals that are NOT taken out of tap water BEFORE they drop into your drinking glass:
- cleaning detergents
- many solvents and plasticizers
- prescription medications (that get flushed down the toilet)
- fertilizers and pesticides
- some naturally occurring radioactive materials,
- bacteria and viruses
- bisphenol-A (BPA) leaching from the PVC piping that brings the “clean” water many miles from the water treatment plant, into our faucets…
Who are most at risk for health issues from exposure to various chemicals and why?
Although all humans are at risk for health issues when it comes to certain classes of chemicals, the human fetus (in-utero), toddlers and teens are at greatest risk because their bodies are growing rapidly. Rapid growth and development creates vulnerability to genetic change and the potential for endocrine system “disruption” by chemicals; some may may cross the placenta from the mother’s blood, others may be eaten in food/drink, inhaled into the lungs or absorbed through the skin. Toddlers, who are known to put objects in their mouths often, may absorb chemicals through dust that attaches to toys. Infants and children also lack the ability to break many chemicals as efficiently as adults, due to their immature liver detoxification pathways.
What are “endocrine disrupting chemicals” or EDCs?
Many chemicals are classified as “endocrine disruptors” because they can disrupt the normal workings of the human endocrine system; some chemicals (BPA, phthalates, triclosan, flame-retardants e.g.) have been found to act as low-level estrogens (female sex hormones), androgen blockers (male sex hormones) and have effects on other endocrine system functions, such as thyroid hormone balance and insulin release/resistance (sugar regulation).