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Teen Endocrine Disruption

Tuesday, August 08, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

You may have heard warnings of toxic chemicals being used on our foods, in our household products, in our plastic containers, or elsewhere in our environment. It’s a message being told in news stories and talk around the water cooler–the plastic water cooler that may itself contain the wretched toxic chemicals!

So, what impact do these toxic environmental chemicals really have on us?

As it turns out, according to a recent Medscape report, teens are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of exposure to dangerous environmental chemicals, more so than any other age groups. Adolescents going through puberty are most susceptible to experiencing damage to their developing hormone systems. One of the consequences of regular exposure to some common environmental chemicals is the negative effect they have on a teen’s thyroid. These toxic chemicals are capable of causing endocrine disruption, which means that the thyroid fails to produce the hormones necessary for the child’s growing body to function.

The thyroid is responsible for a number of bodily functions—the hormones produced by it provide for body temperature regulation, metabolism, energy levels, and the ability to mentally focus. Many different systems in the human body are directly impacted when environmental chemicals disrupt the endocrine system.

A study conducted by the New York University School of Medicine found that three common environmental contaminants: perchlorate, thiocyanate and nitrate, have significant thyroid-blocking effects for teens who are exposed at relatively common environmental levels. Exposure to these chemicals, during the delicate phase of developing hormone systems in teens, leads to endocrine disruption and is the number-one cause of hypothyroidism.

Sources of toxic environmental chemicals include processed foods, household plastic products, fresh fruits and vegetables exposed to various pesticides and fertilizers, and cigarette smoke.

Limiting, or eliminating, exposure to these environmental chemicals is the best form of prevention.

Unfortunately, once these harmful toxic chemicals, have disrupted a young teen’s endocrine system during his or her development, there is essentially no cure. The importance of prevention is the most vital takeaway from the research.

There are some safe steps that can be taken to mitigate and limit exposure to these toxic environmental chemicals. Researchers recommend healthy diets that include vegetables that are high in iodine, fresh organic produce, and non-processed foods (those that come in a box or can). Parents of teens and young adults are encouraged to talk to their doctors about what steps they can take to avoid being impacted by these harmful chemicals.

Alexander Law Group, LLP is always ready to answer questions and share the results of our research and experience with the public. Our goal is to make a difference for our clients and our community. If you or someone you know has been a victim of an environmental hazard, Call 888.777.1776 for a free, confidential, and personal consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online.

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