Header

UN-Stealth Me! Human Lab Rats Move Toward Testing

Over on our consumer science site, Stealth Epidemic, we described The Stealth Epidemic Project and the various goals that we  have set out to accomplish.

We’ve gotten a pretty good, if episodic, start on the hardcore (caution, footnotes!) site, Nano Active, and a solid start with trying to translate the health science of hormone disruptors over at Stealth Epidemic.

It’s been a slower process to get the UN-Stealth Me! personal testing started. The testing itself is very specialized, expensive and a challenge to do correctly. But we’ve connected with two of out three testing goals.

PERSONAL TESTING: A POSITIVE STEP TO “WHAT CAN I DO?”

In order to give  hormone disruptors a human face, my collaborator, Becca Yeamans-Irwin and I will become lab rats in an experiment where we attempt to reduce the hormone disruptors in our bodies. We’ll do this through the avoidance of EA-positive products, foods, food preparation, dishes, storage techniques and more.

The object is for us to do the heavy lifting for you to develop ways to reduce hormone disruptor (Endocrine Disrupting Compound — EDC) levels that are easily accomplished and can be integrated into daily life with minimum effort.

In addition to a running online commentary that forms the reverse of “Supersize Me,” the results and outcomes of the testing will form the unifying narrative for the Stealth Epidemic book. This will help bring a sense of everyday reality to a subject that many people would not otherwise be able to identify with.

THREE TESTS FOR THE HUMAN LAB RATS

The testing we will do will involve three labs that will test three different measurements as we reduce the EDCs in our body:

  1. Measuring actual urine and blood-serum levels of a hallmark hormone disrupting chemical (BPA).
  2. Measuring changes in double-stranded DNA breaks (damage)
  3. Measuring changes in our epigenetic profiles. Those profiles are indicators of gene expression that have been altered by EDCs. Epigenetic changes change the way that genes function. They are kind of like mutations, but don’t change the underlying DNA sequences. Many (perhaps most) are reversible.

We are fortunate to have — in hand — commitments from labs to perform tests 1 and 2.

FOCUS ON BISPHENOL A (BPA)

We’re going to focus on BPA instead of looking at the hundreds of other hormone disruptors that contaminate our bodies.

Why? Because we must focus on the do-able. And BPA:

  • Is the most intensively studied hormone disruptor,
  • Is frequently found in the company of other bad actors (phthalates, ethoxylates etc.), and
  • Because testing just one chemical expensive, time-consuming and laborious.

Both blood serum and urine levels will be measured. That’s because the CDC’s studies of BPA levels (found in at least 93% of Americans) used urine. By taking blood samples at the same time, it allows researchers to correlate levels with urine for comparison.

WORLD-RENOWNED LAB TO DO BPA TESTING

We’re fortunate to have connected with a top laboratory that’s part of a world-renowned university. The researchers in that lab intend to create a scientific paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. And for that reason, do not want us to name them until the paper is accepted.

The testing should begin in the fall of this year. The experiment in which we play lab rats is currently being reviewed my the university’s Committee on Human Research (CHR) to make sure that all the proper ethical practices have been covered.

Like all ethical institutions, the specific university CHR guidelines are derived from federal regulations such as these:

These are, by no means, all of the underlying regulations, but that will give you a sens of why the process take about 3 months, even for an uncomplicated experiment such as ours.

A future post will talk about the experiment’s protocols.