By Ana Cerrud
Perfumes and pesticides have in common one of the most aggressive environmental pollutants and dangerous pathogens for health, phthalates, endocrine disruptors that are linked to cases of precocious puberty, childhood cancer and autism.
These endocrine disruptors are incorporated into products as diverse as perfumes and pesticides to "plasticize" the fluids and fix the odors or the permanence of the product on the surface where they are applied and make them more commercial, but they are seldom structural components or not. can be replaced.
The VI International Congress of Environmental Medicine that was held in June in Madrid identified pathologies due to environmental contamination, endocrine disruptors, among others, such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, behavioral disorders, infertility and emerging diseases such as the multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS ), fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Dolores Romano, an agronomist from the Labor, Environment and Health Trade Union Institute (ISTAS), presented the conclusions of the Congress on Risks to Public Health and the Environment as a starting point for the debate.
Among the established recommendations, he mentioned the importance of labeling on products, to identify risk substances (in nanotechnology and transgenics) and in the face of new diseases related to electromagnetic fields (cancer, among others), to set maximum legal limits for contamination, on an international level.
The European Union already set up a free online portal in March for the exchange of information on substances and alternative technologies to the toxic chemicals identified.
Regarding the impact on human health of persistent organic pollutants, such as endocrine disruptors, he highlighted their proven relationship with alterations in the male reproductive system (cryptoquidia, hypospadias and reduction of semen quality) and female (precocious puberty, reduction of the fecundity, spontaneous abortions, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis) and cancers in hormone dependent organs such as breasts, prostate, testicles and thyroid.
On the other hand, the relationship of these disruptors with damage to the neurological system and the cause of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity or of the neuroimmune system, such as MCS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis, was established.
The dose makes the poison
According to studies by Nicolás Olea, from the University of Granada, Romano recalled, low doses of endocrine disruptors can give rise to more powerful effects than high doses, so science is invited to review the established concept "the dose makes the poison "and highlights the importance of mixtures in environmental pollution syndromes.
These ailments, he explained, are rarely due to a single toxic substance, but to a complex mixture of chemicals whose effects can be additive and synergistic, with overall effects greater than individual ones. The response of society and the administration to these scientific discoveries, Romano told EFEverde, should be the total prohibition of disruptors in consumer products, whose action is known, in addition, can affect descendants, by modifying the germ line, origin of sperm and ovules.
In cosmetics and pesticides, from where they reach the environment most frequently, they are completely dispensable and there are already other alternatives on the market that do not involve much sacrifice and do imply common sense, said Romano, who is committed to consumer pressure to achieve changes. And it recommends at the individual level, self-protection measures, without forgetting the responsibility of the Ministry of Health and Food and Environment to inform risk groups to avoid contamination,
Romano's best formula when in doubt: water, soap and vinegar, for cleaning the house and water, soap, alum stone or lemon for cleaning. "You don't have to make life so complicated," he declared.
Toxic also in food
Among the international speakers, the Mexican specialist Javier Hernández Covarrubias, identified simple carbohydrates, due to their addiction and toxicity, as the major contaminants in food. Young mothers, he said, "are the generation of change", because with sufficient information they control the entry into homes and the exposure of children to the nearly 500 chemicals with which an individual has daily contact. Author of the "Guide to living healthy in a toxic world", the Mexican allergist and otolaryngologist pointed out that degenerative and chronic diseases of immunological origin, related to environmental contamination, have become a "global epidemic."