Pete Myers: Visting Scholar 2019

Lisa Vonk Uncategorized Leave a Comment

PERC was honoured to have hosted Dr. Pete Myers as a visiting scholar in early November 2019. Dr. Myers gave three presentations: Palmerston North City Library; Massey University, Wellington; and the Ministry for the Environment.

Video footage from the Wellington can be found here.

The key ideas that emerged across Pete’s talks were that:

  • Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is ubiquitous  – these compounds are pretty much everywhere and in most plastics: Bisphenols (e.g. BPA monomer in polycarbonate), glyphosate (Roundup), atrazine (a common herbicide), phthalates (plasticizer used in PVC plastics including children’s toys and water pipes), PFAS (perfluorinated compound found in non-stick frying pans, pizza boxes and microwavable popcorn bags, mass amounts in artificial turf, firefighting foams, flame retardant coatings on furniture).
  • Extremely low doses matter a lot: just 1 part per billion can cause obesity, diabetes, ADHD, infertility, breast and other hormone-related cancers, asthma and many other diseases.
  • Current testing methods for the safe limits of EDCs are deeply flawed: The FDA approved “safe dose” of EDCS is at least 20,000x higher than modern endocrinology recommends.  
  • EDCs were found in all PLA (the most common bioplastic on the market) in a recent highly-regarded and peer reviewed study.
  • When all plastics are produced (including PLA) and recycled (including PLA)  Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS) can be introduced.  NIAS can disrupt gene expression and endocrine systems (This is also the case with cardboard and is why recycled cardboard should not be used for food contact materials). 
  • The impacts are trans and intergenerational: The Impacts of hormones on gene expression in the womb through exposure have impacts not only on the first generation but on subsequent generations.  It can also skip generations.
  • Genuine green chemistry may provide a safe pathway forward.   There is a lot of green washed green chemistry out there so beware.
  • The safety of EDCs is shrouded in blatant “manufacturing of doubt” by the petrochemical industry.

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