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Center for a Livable Future


June 23, 2008

Lecturer Calls for More Testing on Chemicals Affecting Endocrine System

Lecture by Theo Colborn

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The vast quantities of chemicals found in everyday life are building in the human body and having a profound effect on everything—from our ability to reproduce to the development of our brains, noted Theo Colborn, PhD, founder of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange.

In her recent lecture to faculty, staff and students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Colborn discussed the connection between every day chemicals and the human endocrine systems. “We now face a pandemic of disorders in the Northern Hemisphere,” she warned. “Something obvious is happening in the population level that requires attention. There is now sufficient evidence, from human and lab studies, that these disorders could, in part, be the result of prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.”

In her lecture, Dr. Colborn pointed to the birth deformity Hypospadias—a condition in which the urethra is not fully formed—and to mounting evidence that endocrine disrupting chemicals are affecting development. “One in 125 boys are born with Hypospadias,” she said. Dr. Colborn called for a government testing program to detect levels of endocrine disruptors. “Almost two decades have been lost since endocrine disruption was recognized and years later nothing has been presented.”

Emphasizing the potential grave impact of endocrine distributors on public health, Dr. Colborn urged the audience to consider that “a vast number of widely dispersed fossil fuel derived chemicals are altering the way our children are constructed before they are born, and how they function in adulthood, and could be posing a more imminent threat to the survival of humans and all organizations than to the threat of climate change.”

The lecture by Theo Colborn was jointly sponsored by CLF, the MidAtlantic Public Health Training Center, and the Public Health Practice and Training Program. More information on Dr. Colborn and her work can be found at The Endocrine Distribution Exchange website.