Monday, August 13, 2007

Down the Drain: Chemicals that Disrupt our Hormone Systems

Many man-made chemicals widely used today may be capable of causing hormone-disrupting effects in people, fish, and wildlife. 3 hormone-disrupting chemicals are the focus: phthalates, a class of chemicals used in products ranging from cosmetics to plastics; bisphenol A, a chemical used to make a type of hard plastic (polycarbonate), and to make an epoxy resin that lines food cans; and triclosan, an antibacterial ingredient found in numerous consumer products, including liquid hand soap, toothpaste, plastic cutting boards, and shoe insoles.

These chemicals have been detected in streams and rivers as a result of exposure to wastewater from our communities. Wastewater treatment is extremely effective at removing biodegradable pollutants such as human and food waste, but it cannot remove all of the unregulated tide of persistent chemicals washed down the drain.