In a press release dated December 1, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) stated the following: “Research has already shown that exposure to certain synthetic chemicals disrupts hormone function and contributes to increased incidences of diseases.
It is vital that we continue to study and understand the effects of hormone disrupting chemicals, so we can prevent the unintended consequences on women’s health.”
As a result, Rep. Slaughter introduced two bills that would fund research on connections between reproductive health and any disruptive impact of environmental chemicals. It has long been suspected that there is indeed such a connection. The first bill would give authorization to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct a research program on hormone disruption and some other projects, and the second bill would authorize NIEHS to develop research centers dealing with women’s health and disease prevention. Right now there are 12 cosponsors for each bill.
Slaughter’s press release also discussed the fact that there has been an increase in the following diseases and disorders over the past 30 years: testicular cancer, childhood cancers, juvenile diabetes, thyroid disorders, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, and autoimmune disorders. This is an incredibly long list. Slaughter also said that a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is 1 in 7 compared to a lifetime risk of 1 in 22 in the 1940s. That is a sharp increase to say the least. The press release goes on to say that more than half of breast cancer diagnoses cannot be explained, “but environmental risk factors may play a part.”
So the research shows that there could very well be a connection between reproductive health and environmental chemicals. Congresswoman Slaughter is to be applauded for introducing two bills that would fund more research on this connection, and in doing so would prevent women from getting diseases that seventy some years ago were not so prevalent. I believe there is a connection and that the question is how big of one.