3224.0 Hormones added to our water and food systems: What are the (cumulative) risks?( Organized Jointly by FN and ENV Sections)

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM
Synthetic hormones are commonly added to the U.S. food systems, raising concerns about hormone residues in food as well as in surface waters downstream of farms. These hormones include recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH, used to slightly boost milk production and the several synthetic steroids routinely given to beef cattle to make them grow faster to market weight. Both practices are banned in the European Union. Among other hormonally-active chemicals intentionally added to the food supply are certain pesticides, and plastics additives to food packaging such as phthalates and bisphenol A. A half century ago, there already were questions about the public health prudence of widespread public exposure to hormones added to the food supply. Little effort to date has been made to appreciate the cumulative exposure and human risk from these various practices. The first two speakers discuss health concerns with rBGH use including known impacts on animal health as well as unresolved concerns about its human risks via increased antibiotic use and possible impacts on elevated IGF-1 levels in human tissue as well as public health precautionary efforts to limit dairy use of rBGH. The 3rd speaker discusses human health concerns related to low level exposures of bisphenol A from polycarbonate plastics used in food packaging (e.g., baby bottles, beverage containers, tableware, etc.) and epoxy linings of food cans. The last discussant raises the context of the cumulative, low level exposure to hormones in the food supply, beginning with the use of diethylstilbesterol (DES) as an animal growth promoter until the 1970s.
Session Objectives: 1) Describe 3 animal and human health concerns with use of rBGH. 2) List three kinds of hormones or hormonally active chemicals in the food supply. 3) Discuss concerns with at least one additive to food packaging that disrupts hormone function.
David Wallinga, MD, MPA

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Food and Nutrition
Endorsed by: Alternative and Complementary Health Practices, Environment, Socialist Caucus

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

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