April 24, 2013

Endocrine disruptors: What can I do?

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Read more from the Center’s investigation on endocrine disruptors in the environment.
Back to main story Experts avoid sounding alarm on chemicals — but adjust their own habits

Advice from experts.

  • To limit BPA exposure, be careful with plastics used with food. Heat food in glassware and carry stainless steel bottles. Discard scratched plastic, and don’t buy used plastic containers. Consider eating less canned food, since can liners may contain BPA. Link: the government’s advice on BPA.
  • Check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database, which notes when products contain chemicals associated with endocrine disruption, and its 2012 shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce. Apples top the “Dirty Dozen,” while sweet corn ranks in the “Clean 15” — 98 percent of samples contained no detectable pesticides.
  • Don’t flush pharmaceuticals; look for take-back programs in your community. Drugs often pass through wastewater treatment plants and end up in Wisconsin’s waters. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates that just 2 percent of the drugs in Wisconsin are properly collected.

What’s in my drinking water?

Experts interviewed did not advise that people should stop drinking their water or swimming in lakes because of general concerns about endocrine disruptors.

Public systems: Explore the New York Times’ Toxic Waters database from 2009 for contaminants that have been found in public water systems — some of which may be endocrine disruptors, like the pesticide atrazine. For more recent information, call your local water utility.

Private wells: Use the Wisconsin Well Water Viewer to explore what pollution has been found down to the section level. Also from the Center for Watershed Science and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: a Q&A for private well owners, which includes links to water testing resources.