On March 24, 2013 the NBC show “Dateline” broadcast a report about biomonitoring of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from everyday consumer products. Journalist Andrea Canning tested her own levels of common EDCs, as well as in her young children. In all samples bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and triclosan were detectable. During an intervention where Canning avoided known sources of the chemicals body burdens “plummeted”, as stated in the report. This intervention was followed by a period of using products that are known sources of the EDCs of interest, and body levels were reported to have “gone up” (no actual data were presented).

Scientist Emilie Rissman, professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, USA and expert in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology was interviewed and stated that in animal experiments BPA caused anxiety, amongst many other reported effects. Her results, she said, have been replicated.

Dr. Joe Schwarcz, professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and director of McGill’s Office for Science & Society expressed his non-concern for the observed biomonitoring results for BPA and the phthalates, but stated that he would avoid triclosan where possible because it was not “necessary”.

Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith, environmental advocates from Canada and authors of the book “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” were questioned, too. Having performed a similar intervention experiment on themselves, published in their 2009 book, Lourie and Smith stated that “BPA in baby bottles is the tip of the iceberg”.

BPA is also used in the lining of food and beverage cans, as flame retardant and antioxidant in plastics, in laminated plastics, and adhesives used in food packaging, amongst other known uses (e.g. thermal paper). Phthalates have been found to migrate from food packaging plastics and can also be present in personal care products. Triclosan is used as antibacterial ingredient in soaps and toothpaste, but is currently also an authorized food contact plastic additive in Europe.


Dateline, MSNBC (March 24, 2013) Part 1 and Part 2

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Smith, R. and Lourie, B. (2009). Slow Death by Rubber Duck. Berkeley: Counterpoint Press.