Mizzou Doctor Says Plastics Are Causing Health Problems

COLUMBIA, MO. (KMOX) – Dr. Frederick Vom Saal, an endocrinologist and researcher, has released a new book, “Integrative Environmental Medicine.” He says the increase in the past decade of asthma, allergies, infertility, and other conditions cannot be attributed to genetics because genes don’t change that quickly. Instead, these conditions and several cancers are linked to environmental chemical pollutants.

Should you microwave food in plastic bags or dishes? Absolutely not, says Dr. Vom Saal at Mizzou.

“Most plastics contain very large numbers of unknown chemicals that are called plasticizers, and they can float around and out of the product and the hotter the product gets, the greater the migration of chemicals out of it that occurs,” he says.

The process of chemicals releasing when the plastic is heated is called “off-gassing.” That new car smell you love so much?

“That’s the off-gassing of phthalates from polyvinyl flouride. Phthalates are associated with asthma, allergies, obesity and low sperm count,” he says.

You assume that the products you use everyday like soaps, shampoos, make-up, lotions or deodorant would be safe, but most are not. They contain trace amounts of chemicals that can cause cancer, infertility and other conditions. Dr. Vom Saal believes people need to be more aware.

“Particularly if you’re putting stuff on your body when you’re in the fertile period of your life and you’re thinking of having children or you’re putting these products on your babies,” he says.

Dr. Vom Saal says the human fetus is very fragile and can be harmed by very small amounts of chemicals. In Europe, many of the chemicals in question found in nail polish, shampoo and cosmetics have been banned and companies are still able to make those products without them. The United States allows it and hasn’t changed it’s approval of these chemicals for more than 60 years.

“The American Cosmetic Council is absolutely resistant to accepting that any chemical in cosmetics is a hazard to human health,” he says.

Recently, Johnson and Johnson agreed to remove from its baby shampoo two chemicals linked to cancer, but only after an online outcry and consumer pressure. Vom Saal’s new book, “Integrative Environmental Medicine” highlights sources of contaminants in our lives, and how to reduce exposure.

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