Health hazards from chemicals present in foods; resulting to triple effects on fibroids,endometriosis & infertility

Emobileclinic Researchers corner

Emobileclinic Reporter: Femi Fayomi

It is an established facts that chemicals escape into foods after packaging causing various  health hazards as proven by various studies. It is very disheartening that chemicals used in bottling and packaging consumables are now associated with  fibroids and endometriosis as reflected in recent studies. Researchers pointed that chemicals like Bishenol-A and phthalates are linked to endocrine disruption and thus fibroids and endometriosis are added to the lists of damages cause by chemicals. Other damages are obesity, IQ loss and infertility in males.

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European Union spend at least 1.41 billion euros a year to address chemical associated health issues and presently attention is  shifting towards fibroids and endometriosis, two common conditions that affect an estimated 70% of women and are leading causes of female infertility.

Comparative studies of many different endocrine-disrupting chemicals showed that the strongest evidence, albeit still from only a handful of studies, implicated a role for DDE, or diphenyldichloroethene, and phthalates in fibroids and endometriosis, respectively. Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine remarks that “there are substantial human and toxicological studies (in mice and other lab animals) that suggest that exposure to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals, many of which are increasing in use, are contributing to female reproductive conditions,”


Trasande and colleagues in their latest study published on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism said DDE is reflected in the breakdown of product inform of insecticide. DDT has already been banned in the United States for as far back as 1972 and in Europe in the 1970s, but the problems still lingers with other substituting chemicals as they are causing pollution in the environment and enters our body through packaged products. Phthalates is used in preserving food and drink stored in plastic containers.

Furthermore, the researchers through their studies on typical DDE exposures in women of reproductive age in Europe and the association between DDE levels in the blood and fibroid diagnoses revealed that 56,700 cases of fibroids among women in Europe were probably due to DDE exposure, and 145,000 cases of endometriosis were probably caused by phthalates. In a similar way, they relied on a study that linked higher phthalate levels in women who had been diagnosed with endometriosis compared to healthy women.

The researchers estimated the economic burden of these extra cases of fibroids and endometriosis based on the typical cost of treating these conditions, such as by surgery, in European countries. The cost for fibroids was 163 million euros, or $183 million, while endometriosis cases racked up a bill of 1.25 billion euros, or $1.4 billion.

The study also identified not only the health burden but also healthcare cost of endocrine-disrupting chemicals which far exceed what the current study captured looking at only two chemical groups. As Trasande and his colleagues point out in the study, several other chemicals, such as PCBs- polychlorinated biphenyls, have been linked with female reproductive health problems.

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According to Linda S. Birnbaum, the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, noted that the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, of 2004, has placed restriction on some of these chemicals, including PCBs and dioxins. She said the work of Trasande is important because it focused on chemicals that have not been restricted, and  case of DDE which still persists in the environment despite restriction and thus become unrestricted. She wondered why the researchers did not include an analysis of chemicals such as BPA, which has also been linked to endometriosis risk.

In conclusion, the study found that EDCs (diphenyldichloroethene and phthalates) may contribute substantially to the most common reproductive disorders in women, endometriosis and fibroids, costing nearly €1.5 billion annually to treat. These estimates represent only EDCs for which there were sufficient epidemiologic studies and those with the highest probability of causation.(meaning the role of other chemicals are not inclusive).

These health costs are great deal of concern for Nigerians who bear all the risks associated with chemicals and other pollutions. Governments should also look into our manufacturing processes and come up with possible checks or alternatives to reduce risk .

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