Endocrine Disruptors


Besides the hotly debated BPA and BPA-like substances, a range of other chemicals are typically added to plastics to tailor their properties. Many of these chemicals are safe and harmless, but other popular additives have been shown to cause adverse health effects when people are chronically exposed. Of particular concern are young children who are prone to direct exposure through putting things in their mouths. In 2008, the U.S. placed limits on the amount of phthalates in children's toys. 

Ocean-Clogging Microplastics Also Pollute the Air, Study Finds

The New York Times, Liam Stack, April 18, 2019

Summary: This article discusses the research of French scientists who are studying how microplastics particles can spread through the air in large quantities. The article outlines what microplastics are, where they are commonly found, and the threat they pose.

Scientific American: Just How Harmful Are BPA Plastics? 


  • by Adam Hinterhuer, August 2008

  • Summary: This article describes the potential endocrine-mimicking behavior of bisphenol-A from consumer contact with certain plastics. The authors define the problem insofar as science understands the risk, but it stops short of recommending a ban on the chemical. The ambiguity arises from differing responses in different individuals and an unclear understanding of what dose is harmful. From the point of view of the endocrine system, physiological response depends on very small amounts, whereas toxicity to other systems requires much more.

Beyond BPA: Court Battle Reveals A Shift In Debate Over Plastic Safety


  • by Jon Hamilton, NPR Your Health Blog, 16 February 2015

  • Summary: This article discusses various alternatives to BPA that are being used in "BPA-free" labeled products, but that may have some similar effects as BPA. It also details the work of a scientist who has lobbied about the hazards of all sorts of compounds in plastics. A legal battle ensued and the court ruled in favor of Eastman Chemical, producer of the most common BPA-free plastic alternative. Meanwhile, the EPA has deemed BPA safe in the majority of consumer products.

BPA facts: American Chemistry Council site

  • Website collection of links and articles covering the multitude of studies on BPA toxicity.