Widespread Obesity: Are Certain Chemicals Also a Big Contributor -2?

In part 2, Dr. Susan Katz, Chair of the Environmental Health Work Group of the Oregon’s Physicians For Social Responsibility (PSR) outlines some of the basic steps to avoid consuming products that contain “obesogens”, chemicals suspected of causing overweight and obesity in humans.

List of Suspected Obesogens

Practice Prevention, Obesogens -pdf (courtesy of the Collaborative On Health and the Environment.)

Animal studies

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) (found in some plastics,
    carbonless copy paper and can linings)
  • Perfluoroalkyl compounds (used in nonstick
    cookware and water-repellent and stain-resistant
    fabrics)
  • Organotins (used in agriculture and industry, used
    as wood preservatives in marine areas)
  • Dithiocarbamates (found in cosmetics and
    agricultural products)
  • Nonylphenol (found in cosmetics and household
    cleaners)
  • Fine particulate matter (air pollutant from burning
    fuels and wood, from road dust, aerosols and other
    sources)
  • Organophosphate pesticides (used for termite
    control, in home garden products, and in some pet
    collars)
  • Atrazine (pesticide used in agriculture that can
    contaminate drinking water)
  • Nicotine

Human studies

  • DDE (a breakdown product of DDT, a persistent
    pesticide that is now banned)
  • PCBs (persistent chemicals used as lubricants and
    flame retardants, now banned)
  • HCB (a persistent fungicide, now banned)
  • Oxychlordane (a persistent pesticide, now banned)
  • Beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (a persistent
    insecticide, now banned)
  • Dioxins and furans (persistent chemicals formed by
    incineration of PVC plastic and other substances)
  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy

Both animal and human studies

  • PBDEs (flame retardants that are still used in
    consumer products)
  • Phthalates (found in some plastics)

Additional Resources:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
    National Biomonitoring Program Summary information on most of the chemicals found in the human biomonitoring samplings (Updated March 2013)
  • The Collaborative on Health And The Environment (CHE):
    Portal to Science A comprehensive listing of resources, and free access to up-to-date information about individual environmental toxicants.
  • Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
    The Environmental Health Work Group seeks to educate healthcare professionals and the general public on environmental health threats, and provides information to help protect individuals and communities from exposure to toxic substances.
  • Environmental Working Group:
    Top 50 rankings of foods containing pesticide residues from worst to best for popular fresh produce items. The top 5 on their list for containing the highest levels of pesticide residues:
  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches

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