Washington, D.C. – The American Public Health Association (APHA) recently announced an important new policy calling for government action to protect the public from hormone-disrupting chemicals in the food supply. The policy was applauded by Healthy Food Action, a project of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
The APHA is the oldest and largest association of public health professionals in the world, representing 50,000 professionals nationwide. APHA’s policy statement follows official positions released in 2010 by both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Endocrine Society, the nation’s premier professional association for medical experts in hormone physiology and medicine.
“Americans live amidst a virtual sea of synthetic environmental pollutants that can mimic or disrupt hormone function. It should not surprise us, then, that costly, hormone-related diseases are common or on the rise,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D. “Much of our exposure to these endocrine disrupting chemicals comes via a contaminated food supply.”
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) known or identified include several dozen pesticides and fungicides, industrial pollutants like PCBs and dioxins, plastic monomers like bisphenol A, plastic additives like phthalates, as well as pharmaceuticals.
APHA’s resolution supports several steps, including work by federal agencies with regulatory oversight, for various individual EDCs to better coordinate amongst themselves, given the scientific “recognition that collectively EDCs likely will have common or overlapping effects on the endocrine system.” Specifically, the policy urges government agencies to better regulate and restrict human exposure to EDCs in the food chain. The government should heed data on the ability of these hormone-like chemicals to have significant effects even at “low-dose” or minute levels of exposure, in addition to the more conventional assumption in toxicology that looks only at high-level effects.
The APHA resolution can be viewed here.
Healthy Food Action (healthyfoodaction.org) is a project of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). For 25 years, IATP has worked locally to globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair, healthy and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.