The outcome of this study may make a substantial contribution by definitively and credibly evaluating the human effects of endocrine disruptors and other environmental chemicals.
Regardless of whether the thesis of this study is proven or not, it will add vital data that can help scientists, health professionals, and the general public to understand risks that may be caused by the small levels of chemicals that federal regulators have decided are “safe” to consume but which hundreds of university studies say are harmful.
If the study does provide support for its thesis, it will help resolve the current regulatory and scientific stalemate caused by:
(a) arguments about correlation and causation,
(b) flaws with animal models, and
(c) the dismissal of low-dose, non-monotonic effects by many traditional toxicologists.
There are missing links in environmental chemical risk assessment including:
- Moving beyond “associated with” to “causes.” (Correlation does not equal causation).
- The absence of controlled trials on humans. (Unethical to deliberately expose humans to harmful substances).
- Research conducted on rats, mice and other lab animals is no guarantee the same effects will be seen in humans.
How does this study address the missing links?
Epidemiology is the science of using data to find correlations — connections or links — between substances, behaviors or environmental factors and diseases or other harms. But while links, associations, and connections can save lives, such statistical correlations are not scientific conclusions or proofs of cause.
This study moves conclusions about cause and effect closer than epidemiology can by past “associated with.” If the results provide support for the thesis, this study will advance knowledge that the chemicals in question cause changes in clinical blood tests, double-stranded DNA breaks and epigenetic profiles already established as valid markers of health and illness by the medical and scientific community.
The ethical considerations are resolved by this study by using a controlled protocol to systematically remove specific environmental chemicals from the test population rather than adding them. This is possible because very, very few people are without measurable levels of environmental chemicals in their bodies.
For example, Bisphenol A, which this study focuses on, is already ubiquitous in the environment and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is present in 95 % of Americans.
Removing potentially harmful chemicals already present in test subjects from environmental exposure is not unethical.
It is worth noting hat deliberate exposure of an unwitting population to potentially harmful chemicals is an ethical quandary that neither governments, nor companies, nor universities has addressed.
What are the benefits to society?
Society can benefit because:
- This study can offer new, outcomes-based diagnostic and recommendation tools for doctors and other health professionals.
- This study can give individuals additional of clear, credible, fact-based, steps that are actionable and convenient to adapt to everyday lives.
- Food, beverage, chemical manufacturers and government agencies will — for the first time — have credible, cause-and-effect data for solid, evidence-based decision making.
- Cause-and-effect data for solid, evidence-based decision making can allow members of the general public and their health professionals to leapfrog regulatory inertia and special interests in order to take direct healthy personal actions.