TakingSidesRD2 - Toxics and the Environment: Progress of an...

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Toxics and the Environment: Progress of an Environmental Epidemic Introduction “Over the past 10 years, many synthetic compounds and plant products present in the environment have been found to affect hormonal functions in various ways.” Michele L. Trankina explains how various mass produced chemicals have contaminated our environment, effecting the health of both humans and animals, in her article “The Hazards of Environmental Estrogens.” This article was published in 2001 and also appears in the thirteenth edition of Taking Sides , published in 2008. As of 2040, environmental issues concerning toxins released in nature and also found in synthesized materials have been of great concern for environmental activists. Since 2008, the world has made substantial progress in improving the welfare of the environment by merely reducing environmental estrogens, banning harmful chemicals such as DDT, and reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, allowing for increased environmental health and awareness. Environmental Hormone Mimics Pose a Serious Health Threat Hormones contained in the air, water, food, and many natural resources have always been one of the environment’s most predominant antagonists. The thirteenth edition of Taking Sides presents an assortment of issues regarding the repercussions that chemicals and other toxins can have on the environment. With respect to research on the amount of environmental damage that is caused by hormones and other toxins, remarkable progress has been made. However, multiple studies were needed to prove that increased birth defects, decreased fertility, and multiple childhood illnesses result from these pollutants. "Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can't be explained by
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changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we're being exposed to." Dr. Leo Trasande, assistant director of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, explained this in an interview with CNN in 2007. In 2008, and many years prior, the question of whether or not environmental hormones posed a potentially serious health threat seemed debatable. On one side, it was believed that statistics showing increased health problems, supposedly caused by environmental estrogens, were purposely manipulated in favor of environmentalists. Researchers holding this view credited these statistics to “junk science,” which only attempts to acquire funding for various health and environmental programs in need of money. In opposition to this view, other researchers strongly believed that serious attention needed to be given to studies that revealed trends in unusual organ functioning (in animals and humans). In effect, environmental hormones did prove a threat, supported by numerous studies, not “junk science.” As of 2040, there is no
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This note was uploaded on 09/01/2009 for the course ENV S ENV S 3 taught by Professor Graves during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.

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TakingSidesRD2 - Toxics and the Environment: Progress of an...

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