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Watchdog Warns of 'Dirty Dozen' Hormone Disruptors As Scientists, Industry Argue Regulation

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.

Bisphenol A has gotten a much higher profile in recent years, as the "BPA-free" label adorns an increasing number of water bottles and baby products. News headlines regularly hint at possible connections between BPA and a lengthening list of health problems. But the ingredient is still common in plastics, food can liners -- and in our bodies.

The chemical can be found in 93 percent of Americans, according to a guide released Monday by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and the Keep-A-Breast Foundation. And BPA is just one of many everyday chemicals that even at very low levels could harm our bodies by mimicking or blocking the natural hormone messengers responsible for everything from sleep and metabolism to growth and reproduction.

"We're seeing more and more of these chemicals," said Johanna Congleton, senior scientist with EWG.

The groups' new "Dirty Dozen" guide to what they deem the worst endocrine-disrupting chemicals lists ingredients that can be found in rocket fuel, brake fluid, flame retardants, herbicides and non-stick frying pans, as well as notorious carcinogens and neurotoxins such as lead, arsenic and mercury.

"It's not just BPA," Congleton said. "Dioxin, for example, interacts with receptors in charge of development in the womb, the way the digestive system works, puberty. At the same time, we're exposed to a mixture of these chemicals."          

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