The weekend of April 12-14, 2019 was the Environmental Health Symposium (EHS) Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. This year’s topic of discussion was Endocrine Disruption: The Solution. I was there. The weather was great. 10/10, would recommend (the weather, that is).
This year was the first conference without Dr. Walter J. Crinnion, ND, one of the founders of the EHS, who passed away unexpectedly in March. He was a true pioneer in the field of Environmental Medicine and I was fortunate enough to participate in his last certification course in Environmental Medicine 2017 in Toronto and attend last year’s EHS. He leaves behind big shoes to fill within the Environmental Medicine community.
As always, the Environmental Health Symposium was a mixture of alarming and eye-opening with a side of hope for the future.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can act as hormones and neuroendocrine transmitters within the body and can cause effects in the same way that hormones would by binding to receptors. Once these chemicals have taken over receptors, they can exert their negative effects on the receptor’s normal function that may involve under- or over-stimulation of cells and function. Depending on the chemical involved, these changes can be very difficult for the body to regulate. If this effect occurs during key points in cellular development the results can be seen in abnormal fetal and childhood progression, an increased risk of cancer and metabolic disease and other irreversible deleterious effects.
Some parts of the weekend was a review of material I was already current with- but it was still concerning nonetheless. There were also practitioners and researchers presenting on the effect of environmental pollution on fertility (male and female) and women’s health issues including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), female cancers and preconception care. Another interesting conclusion that was reached from studies showed that repeated low exposures over time (measured in parts per billion) was more harmful than previously reported based on limited studies. This was not in line with the information that was used to determine “safe” levels according to standard government regulations.
While the conference provided a lot of disheartening information on the current state of the world and our environment, leading clinicians and researchers remain optimistic about what can be done to turn our situation around. Some were able to provide very practical tips on how to minimize and exposure and mitigate negative effects from such exposures in order to optimize health and wellbeing. I will aim to illustrate some of these health-optimizing solutions over the next few blog articles.