At the Circular Economy 100 (CE100) Annual Summit on June 22, 2016 in London, UK, Pete Myers, founder, CEO and Chief Scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, gave a talk connecting the dots between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and marine plastic pollution. Myers starts off by explaining endocrine disruption (ED) and the impacts it can have on organisms, adding e.g. to infertility, obesity, and hormone-related cancers. Hormones are “the signals that tell genes when to turn on and off throughout your life” and EDCs “hack those hormonal signals,” Myers illustrates. He highlights that acting on the implications of ED science presents “an opportunity to reduce disease burdens.” Myers refers to the World Health Organization (WHO) EDC report of 2012 finding that “ED is a global public health threat” (FPF reported), as well as another study finding that the annual financial burden to the European Union due to exposure to EDCs is at least €157 (FPF reported). Next, Myers outlines the ubiquity of exposure to EDCs and the environmental problem of marine plastic pollution. Some plastics are toxic because they are made up of hazardous substances like the prominent EDC bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) and plastic particles in the ocean adsorb persistent organic pollutants (POPs), Myers states. Microplastics in the ocean are ingested by marine organisms such as daphnia, fish (FPF reported), and seabirds (FPF reported). Ultimately plastic pollutes the food chain (FPF reported) and increases exposure to toxic chemicals such as EDCs (FPF reported). Lastly, Myers presents TiPED (Tiered Protocol for Endocrine Disruption), a green chemistry tool which “helps chemists structure their analysis to work with biologists to figure out ‘Is this [substance] likely to be an EDC or not?’” and design safer chemicals from scratch.
Joe Iles (August 22, 2016). “Pete Myers on the health benefits of a circular economy.” Circulate