"Sicker, Fatter, Poorer" & the Cost of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

If Apple Computer knew that a production flaw in its iPhone 10 was collectively costing customers $340 million a year, you can imagine the media coverage would be widespread and fixing the problem would be a top priority for Apple. Why then does a class of chemicals called endocrine disruptors (EDs), which are found in our sofas, laundry detergent and omelet pans, and cost $340 BILLION a year in healthcare costs, lost wages and productivity, not get the same attention?

That’s the challenge Dr. Leo Trasande, a world-renowned leader in children’s environmental health and professor of pediatrics at NYU, posed during his recent presentation and signing of his new book, Sicker, Fatter, Poorer. Standing in front of a robust audience at our Greenwich, Connecticut store, Dr. Trasande explained that Europe has banned 1382 harmful chemicals in cosmetics known to cause cancer, birth defects, and infertility, among other reproductive harms. The U.S? We’ve only banned 11! Americans suffer from more diseases, are more obese, and spend an estimated 2.3% of our GDP to treat diseases caused by endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Nearly everyone in the audience raised their hands when asked if they or a relative had suffered from breast cancer, ADHD, autism, testicular cancer, obesity, diabetes or infertility. Dr. Trasande, who was a chemistry major at Harvard, explained that flame retardants, one of the most prevalent EDs, are structured in such a way that they fit in the receptors where thyroid hormones belong. This, in turn, causes major health problems including altering the way a fetus’s brain is wired.

But that’s not all. Flame retardants and other EDs called obesogens tell your body to pack on the pounds, not shed them, because they hijack your metabolic thermostat. Ever wonder why there are so many Cialis and Viagra ads on tv? Sexual dysfunction is linked to phthalate exposure, typically found in perfumes, artificial fragrance and PVC. The point is ED exposures at any stage of life matter and whether your pants are too tight, you have trouble performing in the bedroom or are worried about the brain health of your unborn baby, there is ample scientific evidence in Dr. Trasande’s book to motivate you to change.

EDCs may seem like a heavy topic for a clean beauty store, but they affect each and every one of us and toxic beauty products play a role. Dr. Trasande’s balanced and entertaining presentation is easy to listen to and filled with terrific tips on how to decrease your ED exposures now. I hope you'll listen.

Autographed copies of Dr. Trasande’s book are available on our website or visit the Sherwood Green Life home page to listen to his presentation in its entirety.

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