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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 12:07 PM
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Early Exposure To Common Chemicals Can Permanently Alter Metabolic System
Programmed For Obesity: Early Exposure To Common Chemicals Can Permanently Alter Metabolic System
Science Daily

Obesity is generally discussed in terms of caloric intake (how much a person eats) and energy output (how much a person exercises). However, according to a University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, environmental chemicals found in everyday plastics and pesticides also may influence obesity. Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences in MU's College of Arts and Science, has found that when fetuses are exposed to these chemicals, the way their genes function may be altered to make them more prone to obesity and disease.

"Certain environmental substances called endocrine-disrupting chemicals can change the functioning of a fetus's genes, altering a baby's metabolic system and predisposing him or her to obesity. This individual could eat the same thing and exercise the same amount as someone with a normal metabolic system, but he or she would become obese, while the other person remained thin. This is a serious problem because obesity puts people at risk for other problems, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension," vom Saal said.

Using lab mice, vom Saal has studied the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including bisphenol-A, which recently made news in San Francisco, where controversy has ensued over an ordinance that seeks to ban its use in children's products. In vom Saal's recent study, which he will present at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), he found that endocrine-disrupting chemicals cause mice to be born at very low birth weights and then gain abnormally large amounts of weight in a short period of time, more than doubling their body weight in just seven days. Vom Saal followed the mice as they got older and found that these mice were obese throughout their lives. He said studies of low-birth-weight children have shown a similar overcompensation after birth, resulting in lifelong obesity.


"You inherit genes, but how those genes develop during your very early life also plays an important role in your propensity for obesity and disease. People who have abnormal metabolic systems have to live extremely different lifestyles in order to not be obese because their systems are malfunctioning," vom Saal said. "We need to figure out what we can do to understand and prevent this."

Developmental Effects of
Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
in Wildlife and Humans

THEO COLBORN et al. Environmental Health Perspectives v.101, n.5, 1oct1993

Theo Colborn,1 Frederick S. vom Saal,2 and Ana M. Soto3

1W. Alton Jones Foundation and World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, 20037 USA; 2Division of Biological Sciences and John M. Dalton Research Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 USA; 3Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111 USA


Large numbers and large quantities of endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been released into the environment since World War II. Many of these chemicals can disturb development of the endocrine system and of the organs that respond to endocrine signals in organisms indirectly exposed during prenatal and/or early postnatal life; effects of exposure during development are permanent and irreversible. The risk to the developing organism can also stem from direct exposure of the offspring after birth or hatching. In addition, transgenerational exposure can result from the exposure of the mother to a chemical at any time throughout her life before producing offspring due to persistence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in body fat, which is mobilized during egg laying or pregnancy and lactation. Mechanisms underlying the disruption of the development of vital systems, such as the endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems, are discussed with reference to wildlife, laboratory animals, and humans. Key words: developmental effects, diethylstilbestrol, differentiation, endocrine function, estrogen, fertility, hormones, organochlorines, pesticides, phenolics, reproductive function. Environ Health Perspect 101: 378-384(1993)


It is now recognized that numerous endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been released into the environment in large quantities since World War II (Table 1). Some of these chemicals bind to intracellular receptor proteins for steroid hormones (4) and evoke hormonal effects in animals (5), humans (6), and cell culture (7,8). They thus interfere with the functioning of receptors whose normal role is to mediate the effects of the endogenous steroid hormones (9). Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that exposure of fetuses to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can profoundly disturb organ differentiation (10,11) because they can act as hormone agonists or antagonists. Organs that appear to be at particular risk for developmental abnormalities in offspring because of maternal exposure are those with receptors for gonadal hormones: in female fetuses this includes the mammary glands, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and vagina, and in male fetuses it includes the prostate, seminal vesicles, epididymides, and testes. In both sexes the external genitalia, brain, skeleton, thyroid, liver, kidney, and immune system are also targets for steroid hormone action and are thus potential targets for endocrine-disrupting chemicals, although these chemicals may have multiple modes of action, in addition to acting as hormone agonists and antagonists, in different target tissues (11-15).


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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 12:17 PM
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1. I do not doubt the possibility of this at all, but let's face it...
For most, indeed almost all, of history the ability to survive on as little food as possible (the same ability that allows us to get fat on as little food as possible) was a good thing. And i have no doubt that this ability will be a good thing in the future.

It is deeply deeply programmed in our genes. We just have to eat less, and better.

(Self-disclosure: I am an overweight middle-aged male who only very recently quit a 30 yr 3 pack a day smoking habit (even tho i still really enjoyed the habit) and am therefore in the process of packing on even MORE pounds as we speak. I look down my nose at no-one.)
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tnlefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. Good for you! I can't imagine 3 packs a day. I've had 5
cigarettes thus far today and I know that I really should stop, but good for you and good luck!
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Doondoo Donating Member (843 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 12:25 PM
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2. K&R
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distantearlywarning Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 12:25 PM
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3. No, no, no.
Edited on Sun Mar-04-07 12:25 PM by distantearlywarning
Science, shmience. Everybody knows that every single fat person got that way because they sit around on their sofas all day long stuffing soda and bon bons in their face. It's simply a matter of bad character and calories in vs. calories out, and anyone who says otherwise is just enabling these lazy slobs.

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chelaque liberal Donating Member (981 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 12:26 PM
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4. Important topic. Kick to give others a chance to see it.
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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. kicking truth to power
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Read about the latest scientific results and what they mean
Read about the latest scientific results and what they mean:

- Bisphenol A scrambles grandchildrens' chromosomes in mice
- Testosterone decline in MA men
- In utero bisphenol A causes breast cancer in adult rats
- Strong association between POPs and diabetes
- Phthalates and impaired sperm quality
- Undisclosed conflicts of interest by major epidemiologist
- DEHP linked to adult onset asthma
- DEHP has low-level nonmonotonic impact on enzyme crucial to masculinizing brain
- DEHP increases allergic reactions in mice at low exposure levels /

Our Stolen Future
Book Review:
"Thugs on the biological information highway."

by Pat Cody
Berkeley, California
Our Stolen Future:
Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?
A Scientific Detective Story
by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers.
Published by Dutton/Penguin. $24.95.

Principal author Theo Colborn has collected research on man-made chemicals and their effects on animals and humans, to uncover a disturbing pattern. Life on our planet is being changed and challenged by thousands of chemicals in our environment. Thousands of chemicals in our environment. No one thought that some of these compounds, such as those used as pesticides, would leach into the water supply and effect the fertility and body formation of fish, the birds that feed on them and ultimately those at the top of the food chain -- us.

In the past, government health agencies have looked at chemicals from the perspective of cancer risk. They have not studied a slower-emerging danger, that of hazards to reproduction. The authors write:

"Hormone-disrupting chemicals are not classical poisons or typical carcinogens. They play by different rules. They defy the linear logic of current testing protocols built on the assumption that higher doses do more damage. For this reason, contrary to our long-held assumptions, screening chemicals for cancer risk has not always protected us from other kinds of harm. Some hormonally active chemicals appear to pose little if any risk of cancer . . . such chemicals are typically not poisons in the normal sense. Until we recognize this, we will be looking in the wrong places, asking the wrong questions, and talking at cross purposes ... .

"At levels typically found in the environment, hormone-disrupting chemicals do not kill cells nor do they attack DNA. Their target is hormones, the chemical messengers that move about constantly within the body's communications network. Hormonally active synthetic chemicals are thugs on the biological information highway that sabotage vital communication. They mug the messengers or impersonate them. They jam signals. They scramble messages. They sow disinformation. They wreak all manner of havoc. Because hormone messages orchestrate many critical aspects of development, from sexual differentiation to brain organization, hormone-disrupting chemicals pose a particular hazard before birth and early in life. . . . The process that unfolds in the womb and creates a normal, healthy baby depends on getting the right hormone message to the fetus at the right time."

To summarize:

-Know your water and urge at least monthly testing, especially for pesticides.
-Children and women of child bearing years should avoid fish contaminated with dioxin, PCBs and DDE.
-Avoid animal fat as much as possible. Meats and cheeses are major source of dioxin exposure.
-Buy or raise organically grown fruits and vegetables.
-Minimize contact between plastic and food and use glass or porcelain for micro-wave cooking.
-Wash hands frequently.
-Never assume a pesticide or insecticide is safe on household pets.

In the public sphere of our lives:

-Shift the burden of proof to chemical manufacturers. The current system ''assumes that chemicals are innocent until proven guilty. This is wrong. The burden of proof should work the opposite way... ."
-Set standards -- now based on a 150-lb. adult male -- that protect the most vulnerable, children and the unborn.
-Require producers to monitor their products for contamination.
-Support a comprehensive research effort, and redesign of the manufacture and use of chemicals.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
7. I see a significant number of cats who are MORBIDLY obese in
spite of activity levels and proper food intake. These particular cats cannot lose weight no matter how little you feed them. It's horrible.

Endocrine disruptors are suspected to be behind our increase in feline hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), so it's not much of a stretch to think they could also have something to do with other endocrine-metabolic disease. Cats supposedly do not develop naturally-occurring hypothyroidism (low thyroid), but these obese cats have me suspicious of something unnatural going on. None have had low thyroid on testing, but that does not guarantee normal endocrine function across the board............
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. What about the food they are eating?
My sister used to work for Purina and stipulated that she would never allow her cats to eat that food.

I wonder often if there are metabolic disruptors involved in the foods and involved in the food processing, various chemical agents. This is true of Diet Coke e.g.

On a real simple level just consider preservatives. If that allows the food to have such a long shelf life it seems quite reasonable that the product would be harder to break down in the gut of whatever creature was eating such food.

Just thinking aloud.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Point #1: Purina cat food is utter crap.
Point #2:I don't think the endocrine disruptors are in the food ingredients, and I don't blame preservatives. The packaging is suspected to be the problem behind hyperthyroidism in cats.

The pop-top aluminum cat food cans have a thin coating inside that contains, among other things, a known endocrine disruptor that has been proven to cause hyperthyroidism in lab rats. It apparently leaches into the canned food.

It's certainly curious that, of all the cats I've ever had, the ONLY one (so far) to develop hyperthyroidism has been my kitty-aunt Dusty, who I inherited when my grandparents passed away. For the first 8 years of her life she got canned food every day. None of my other cats have ever had more than the occasional can of food (they thrive on kibble) until their health starts to fail in old age. It's certainly an interesting coincidence.
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-04-07 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. OMG. Thanks for posting this.

Heartbreaking, too.
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