EWG's “Dirty Dozen” list of hormone-disrupting chemicals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Environmental Working Group and the Keep A Breast Foundation today released a guide to educate consumers about some of the most problematic hormone-altering chemicals that people are routinely exposed to. EWG, known for creating the popular and widely used Dirty Dozen list of the most pesticide-contaminated produce, partnered with KAB to develop the Dirty Dozen list of endocrine disruptors to highlight the prevalence of these toxic chemicals, how they affect our health and simple ways to avoid them.

 “We were so thrilled to provide a grant to the Environmental Working Group for their work and research on this educational piece about endocrine disruptors in the environment,” said Shaney Jo Darden, founder of the Keep A Breast Foundation.  “The scientific data and reports that exist on this information needs to be made easy to read, easy to understand, and broken down in a way that empowers people to become activists. I am positive that this Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptor guide will be able to do just that.” 

“We are all routinely exposed to endocrine disruptors, and this has the potential to significantly harm the health of our youth,” said Renee Sharp, EWG’s Director of Research. “It’s important to do what we can to avoid them, but at the same time we can’t shop our way out of the problem. We need real chemical policy reform.”

EWG researchers compiled the new Dirty Dozen list by scouring the scientific literature and identifying the most hazardous and widely used hormone-disrupting chemicals that pollute the environment and ultimately our bodies. These substances are frequently found in food, water and consumer products, and studies have linked them to a wide array of health problems, including cancer, birth defects, lowered sperm count, lowered IQ and thyroid disease.

EWG and KAB’s Dirty Dozen list includes BPA, phthalates and other well-known endocrine disruptors that are widespread in consumer products such as plastic containers, food cans and fragrances. The list also includes common contaminants that many people don’t realize can be hormone disruptors, such as arsenic, mercury, lead and others that are less familiar, such as glycol ethers and perfluorinated chemicals. The guide is intended for consumers of all ages, particularly young people who are most at risk from these dangerous chemicals.

Following discussions with key Congressional staffers concerned about increasing exposure to endocrine disruptors, EWG and Keep A Breast teamed up to create the guide. It provides helpful tips on how to avoid many of these chemicals – such as eating organic produce, filtering water and avoiding fragrance – but the truth is that some of these chemicals are so ubiquitous that reducing exposure may be quite difficult. Ultimately, the only solution is regulatory reform to prevent these and other toxic chemicals from coming on the market in the first place.

The federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 was intended to protect consumers from toxic chemicals, but the law is acknowledged to be deeply flawed by virtually the entire public interest community and by a number of leading medical professional associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Since 1993, the Environmental Working Group has been a leader in efforts to restrict the use of toxic substances and educate the public about potentially dangerous chemicals. Millions of consumers worldwide rely on the organization’s online guides to household cleaners and personal care products to help them find the safest products...

The Keep A Breast Foundation is the leading youth-focused, global, nonprofit breast cancer organization. Its mission is to eradicate breast cancer for future generations. KAB provides support programs for young people dealing with cancer and educates people about prevention, early detection and cancer-causing toxins in our everyday environment.

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