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Chemicals in sunscreen may cause cancer, infertility

May 11, 2012 17:51 IST

#Diabetes   #household products   #NewsTracker   #obesity   #Phenols   #sunscreen  

London: Chemicals found in household products may be contributing to rising incidence of cancer, reduced fertility and obesity, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned.

EEA warned that phthalates, found in pesticides bisphenol A and other polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are used to make plastics parabens found in sunscreen and chemicals used in contraceptive pills, needed more scrutiny.

Sunscreen apllied on a girl in the US. Representational image. Reuters

Those chemicals which disrupt the hormone system "may be a contributing factor behind the significant increases in encers, diabetes and obesity, falling fertility and an increased number of neurological development problems in both humans and animals", the Telegraph reports.

"Scientific research gathered over the last few decades shows us that endocrine disruption is a real problem, with serious effects on wildlife, and possibly people," said Jacqueline McGlade, the EEA executive director. Cosmetics and medicines contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and could be harmful to humans.

The human and animal endocrine system is the source of several hormones that control bodily functions such as the reproductive system, metabolism, growth and a person's mood.

"It would be prudent to take a precautionary approach to many of these chemicals until their effects are more fully understood," McGlade said. The real problem was not a single chemical but the "cocktail effect" of many of them together.

The agency said that in recent decades, there has been a "significant growth" in many human diseases and disorders including breast and prostate cancer, male infertility and diabetes.

The findings were made following a review of scientific studies literature commissioned by agency over the past 15 years.

IANS