Chemical Regulators Aren't Protecting Us
Nicholas Kristof says lobbying is keeping harmful chemicals legal
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2012 12:47 PM CDT
Plastic bottles often contain bisphenol-A.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Male frogs born with female organs. Male fish laying eggs. Male alligators with tiny penises. These are just some of the bizarre effects we've seen in nature thanks to hormone-mimicking chemicals, Nicholas Kristof laments in the New York Times. Despite this, the same class of chemicals is nearly unavoidable in American packaging, cosmetics, and even receipts—and there's growing evidence that it's harmful to humans, too. Endocrine disrupters have been shown to cause problems such as breast cancer, infertility, and genital deformities.

"I think it is fair to say that we have enough data to conclude that these chemicals are not safe for human populations," one biologist tells Kristof. Yet regulators have repeatedly bowed to what Kristof terms "Big Chem" and refused to do anything—including refusing to ban the most infamous offender, bisphenol-A. Kristof thinks that's wrong. "Shouldn’t our government," he writes, "be as vigilant about threats in our grocery stores as in the mountains of Afghanistan?" Click for Kristof's full column.