Now, a database of harmful chemicals in everyday items

Human exposure to EDCs takes place via ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and through the skin.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which are harmful for human body, are present in plastic products and many other things like pesticides, cosmetics, metals etc.(Reuters)
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which are harmful for human body, are present in plastic products and many other things like pesticides, cosmetics, metals etc.(Reuters)
Published on Jul 18, 2019 03:43 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By, Mumbai

Ingredients in your everyday items may have an adverse effect on your body.

Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) has created an online database — Database of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and their Toxicity Profiles (DEDuCT) — of 686 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), many of which are present in everyday items.

The database contains information on the environmental source of the EDCs, their adverse effects and chemical class.

EDCs, which are largely man-made, are present in cosmetics, pesticides, plastic products, metals, medicine , additives or contaminants in food. Long-term exposure to EDCs can disturb the functioning of the endocrine system, which consists of glands secreting hormones that control development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, immunity and behaviour. Human exposure to EDCs takes place via ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and through the skin.

In a first, the team has also compiled dosage levels at which individual EDCs were observed to have adverse health effects.

“There is immense interest in identifying EDCs in our environments, especially, consumer products, due to potential adverse effects from exposure,” said Areejit Samal, computational biologist at IMSc. “While there are about one lakh chemicals used in different consumer products, less than 10 databases exist in the world that lists chemicals that are EDCs. However, only DEDuCT spells out the adverse effects of each chemical.”

“Most experimental evidence in the published literature on EDCs is based on experiments on fish or environmental monitoring rather than humans or mammals,” said Samal. “We, therefore, performed extensive literature-mining, along with curation, to identify EDCs with published experimental evidence only in humans or rodents.”

From Januray 2017, the five-member team from IMSc identified 686 EDCs from 1,796 published research articles. IMSc has acquired a copyright for DEDuCT from the Government of India. The paper is published in the ‘Science of the total environment’, an international peer-reviewed scientific journal.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Snehal Fernandes is senior assistant editor at Hindustan Times, Mumbai. She writes on science and technology, environment, sustainable development, climate change, and nuclear energy. In 2012, she was awarded ‘The Press Club Award for Excellence in Journalism’ (Political category) for reports on Goa mining scam. Prior to HT, she wrote on education and transport at the Indian Express.

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