Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Are Indoor Risk
Researchers Find EDC Levels Are Higher Indoors Than Outdoors
The new findings add evidence to what some scientists have long suspected, says Charles J. Weschler, PhD, adjunct professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and continuing visiting professor at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen.
''It drives home the fact that a lot of these compounds that are potentially endocrine-disrupting are entering our bodies in part as a consequent of indoor exposures," he tells WebMD, although he says that some do come from food and drink as well.
''When you look at the indoor concentrations of some of these compounds," he says of the study findings, "it doesn't matter whether you live next to a refinery or in the woods."
In a study he conducted in 1984, Weschler says he measured some of the same compounds. "In 1984, we didn't realize these compounds were potential EDCs," he says. Back then, they regarded the compounds as additives that were used in a host of products.
"I think this paper is alerting those who really were not aware of the fact that indoor exposures really matter for a lot of these compounds," he says.
"When you buy that new shower curtain with the strong smell [from plasticizers], some of those chemicals are going to end up in you," he says.
How to Avoid EDCs
Research is ongoing, and until more is known, Rudel says concerned people can take a few measures to reduce potential exposure to the compounds.
- Use fewer products overall, such as cleaning products and cosmetics, that contain EDCs.
- Avoid fabrics coated with anti-stain chemical.
- Avoid use of antibacterial soaps, which contain triclosan, an EDC.