Sicker, Fatter, Poorer – Exploring the Effects of EDC’s

Written by: Connor Olson, Shiru Wang, Jefferey Wade, Qasim Mehdi & Mengyi Zhang

Every day we are exposed to chemicals through the water we drink, the food we eat, and the clothing we wear. Although many of these chemicals have been deemed safe by regulatory agencies, questions still remain concerning the long-term effect that exposure to some of these chemicals can have on humans. In particular, the past several decades have seen increasing interest in the effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), a group of chemicals that can alter or disturb the hormone system of the body. EDCs can have a wide array of effects on individuals and have been linked to cancers, obesity, and reproductive issues. Suspected EDCs are commonly found in clothing, plastics, food, pesticides, and packaging. Due to the difficulty of screening and regulating the vast number of chemical constituents that we encounter every day, many have sought to minimize their exposure to EDCs by changing personal lifestyle practices.

EDCs were the subject of several recent EMPOWER student activities. EMPOWER students participated in student-led discussion on the prevalence and health implications of EDCs. Together, students discussed the difficulties of EDC regulation and developed different personal practices that could limit an individual’s exposure to common EDC sources. In particular, this discussion focused on two peer-reviewed manuscripts published by lead author Dr. Leonardo Trasande, whose work focuses on investigating the effects of EDCs on children.  Dr. Trasande authored the book, “Sicker, Fatter, Poorer”, in which he discusses the urgency of addressing EDC exposure.

Because of his expertise in the field, Dr. Trasande was invited to Syracuse University as a guest speaker. Dr. Trasande met with EMPOWER fellows over a student lunch to discuss his professional career path and his current research. That evening, Dr. Trasande gave a lively presentation discussing the prevalence of EDCs and the need for action on preventing exposure. Following his presentation, Dr. Trasande held a book signing