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Breathing in chemical fumes may cause hormone disruption

Latest News May 5, 2015 1:49 pm

The first comprehensive review of the hormone disrupting effects of human exposure to low levels of four chemicals in the air was published on 15 April 2015.

The review, “New look at BTEX: Are ambient levels a problem?” appears in Environmental Science & Technology, an online peer-reviewed journal. You can download slides and listen to the author discuss the results during the half hour  EDC strategies webinar on 20 May at 7pm CET.

The chemicals, known together as BTEX – benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene – are linked to hormone-related health conditions at levels commonly found in both indoor and outdoor air in the US at levels considered safe by US EPA.

The research was undertaken in the US by The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“There’s evidence of connection between the low level, everyday exposures and things like asthma, reduced fetal growth,” said Ashley Bolden, a research associate at TEDX and lead author of the study told Environmental Health News. “And for a lot of the health effects found, we think it’s disrupted endocrine-signalling pathways involved in these outcomes.

Many of the health problems – asthma, low birth weights, cardiovascular, disease, preterm births, abnormal sperm – can be rooted in early disruptions to the developing endocrine system”, Bolden said.


Reaction from Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

“This research indicates that we are exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals in the air we breathe – as well as from what we eat and the cosmetics that we rub into our skin. This is a significant development and an issue for the agenda of Europe’s newly created European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma says Roberta Salvi, European Federation of Allergy & Airways Diseases Patients’ Association (EFA) and a member of HEAL’s Executive Committee.


Media coverage

Scientists warn of hormone impacts from benzene, xylene, other common solvents, Environmental Health News, 15 April 2015

Review points to possible endocrine effects from cleaning chemicals, Chemical Watch, 23 April 2015