A Small Step, A Giant Leap

Your doctor may soon be telling you to back off on the use of plastics, eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in your home, and find natural alternatives for pesticides and herbicides. You may even be encouraged one day in the future to check your home for toxic mold.

The following press release was issued this week:

The American Medical Association's (AMA) House of Delegates adopted a resolution calling on the AMA to work with the federal government to enact new federal policies to decrease the public's exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

The resolution, introduced by The Endocrine Society, reflects the findings and recommendations of The Endocrine Society’s peer-reviewed Scientific Statement on EDCs released by the Society this past June. Adoption of this resolution means that it is now AMA policy and is wholly supported by the House of Medicine.

What are these EDCs?

An endocrine disrupter is a chemical that disrupts or interferes with the proper functioning of the endocrine system.

Examples of these agents include phthalates, PCBs and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, brominated flame retardants, dioxins, DDT, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), organochlorine pesticides, bisphenol A, and some metals.

Where do you find these agents?

In common household pesticide and herbicide products, meat supplies, fish, household plastics, water bottles, and more.

What does all of this have to do with toxic mold?

The mycotoxins released by molds such as stachybotrys, aspergillus, penicillium, and others have the same impact on the body as the poisonous substances referred to in this statement.

I know this from personal experience. Our endocrine systems have still not recovered from our mold exposure. Here are some of the conditions we're still battling:

Adrenal fatigue, diabetes, excessive menstrual bleeding, halted menstrual cycles, endometriosis, chronic fatigue, gynecomastia (swelling of breast tissue in boys), thyroid dysfunction, and more.

Dr. Michael Gray was the first doctor to explain to me the effects of endocrine disrupters. He urged us to avoid plastics, buy organic, and explained why we were seeing so much hormonal imbalance in our family. He wrote this in the article titled Molds, Mycotoxins, and Human Health (italics are mine):

Mycotoxins produced by structural molds--meaning molds imported into the residences, workplaces, and public buildings on the paper covering the drywall, and other wood based composite materials--often represent some of the most toxic substances known to humankind.

The climate of "deregulation" that has prevailed since the early eighties has favored the proliferation of new construction in which building codes requiring pretreatment of building materials with anti-fungal agents have simply not been adequately enforced.

This in turn has led to circumstances, which when coupled with "corner-cutting" structural defects, have led to the conditions which favor water intrusion that has all too often allowed the appearance of truly toxic levels of mold spores and mycotoxins, which are, in turn, capable of inducing serious diseases resulting from the presence of agents with the potential for damaging the human immune system, inducing allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, skin disease, neurological disease, endocrine disruption, birth defects, cancer, pulmonary, renal, hepatic, and general metabolic disorders.

What does the AMA resolution mean for the average consumer?

The Natural Resources Defense Council offers these suggestions to reduce your exposure to EDCs:

- Educate yourself about endocrine disruptors, and educate your family and friends.

- Buy organic food whenever possible.

- Avoid using pesticides in your home or yard, or on your pet--use baits or traps instead, keeping your home especially clean to prevent ant or roach infestations.

- Find out if pesticides are used in your child's school or day care center and campaign for non-toxic alternatives.

- Avoid fatty foods such as cheese and meat whenever possible.

- If you eat fish from lakes, rivers, or bays, check with your state to see if they are contaminated.

- Avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap.

- Do not give young children soft plastic teethers or toys, since these leach potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

- Support efforts to get strong government regulation of and increased research on endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

I am excited about this AMA statement. The tide continues to turn and there is hope for change.

In my opinion, it's one small step for the AMA, one potential giant leap for mankind.