Dateline   |  March 25, 2013

Hormone Disruptors, Part 2

NBC News' Andrea Canning reports on 'hormone disruptors', chemicals potentially found in everyday objects that can affect our health.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> after becoming a human guineau pig, my results were

>> in a way, we're defining success.

>> success, in this case, well, after 24 hours of using everyday products we suspected contain hormone disrupters, the levels of those chemicals in my sample went up.

>> i have to say i was a little skeptical. i didn't know if it would really be such a dramatic finding.

>> then, once again, after eliminating the chemicals in my diet, my levels returned to nearly zero. my chemicals had been quickly eliminated in my body through urine.

>> anna did great.

>> at the beginning of all of this, i also had my children tested.

>> all of your kids had detectable levels.

>> we'll never know how bpa ended up in my baby's urine.

>> bpa in baby bottles is the tip of the ice burg.

>> as for triclofan, the baby's level was ten times higher than the national mean. for my two-year-old, her level was nearly 100 times the national average for much older children. we can't say which product contributed to the chemical levels in any of our tests.

>> are you concerned about my family by any way of what you saw?

>> i'm not.

>> dr. joe schwartz, a chemist in the office of science says the levels in our tests are not dangerous.

>> does it bother you at all, then, the levels that you saw in my daughters that seem pretty high?

>> no, that doesn't bother me because they are way below the levels that are deemed to be tokic.

>> dr. smith says the levels are lower.

>> i think they're trying to be alarmists.

>> you don't think they're trying to scare people?

>> i think ultimately, it's a consequence.

>> the fda told us it has determined that bpa and fallates are safe as currently used. adding the presence of these chemicals in urine does not necessarily translate into an adverse effect on the body. the national american metal packaging alliance say the fda has found bpa is safe for food packaging and that bpa helps preserve and protect food. as for fallate, the american chemistry council noted it is no reliable evidence that any phthalate has ever caused a healthy human from its intended use.

>> when it comes to triclofan, dr. schwartz says you're wetter off without it.

>> that's quite a different story from the phthalate. i would say i would avoid that because it isn't necessary.

>> he says he would avoid it not because it's a hormone disrupter, but because frequent use may increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics. that's why it needs to be removed.

>> any time that you're using an antibacterial substance, you are provoking potential for resis tense.

>> while the fda is reviewing, the american cleaning institute, a lobbying group representing the producers of cleaning products says in a letter to dateline that it has been extensively studied and deemed to be safe. dial and the makers of total agreed. the aci added that it is regrettable that "dateline" is relying upon test prudiers set up by activists who rely on junk sites to try and scare consumers. so it's a debate that continues. if you decide to expose your family to these particular hormone disrupters, what do you need to know ?

>>> we went shopping to find out. phthalates, for example, usually aren't listed on the label. bud if you see the words fragrance or parfume, phthalate might be in the product.

>> so a lot of these brands are actually advertised the fact that they're phthalate-free, fragranc fragrance-free.

>> if kwu want to avoid bpa , it's often in plastics with recycling number 7 and microwave your food in glass containers.

>> this is the choice that i'm maging.

>> as for triclopan, you can find it listed on the label.

>> you can ask questions in the store, read the labels.

>> with thousands out there, that's exactly what i would be doing for my family. asking more questions and breeding more labels.

>> several of the companies are advised to provide alternatives of bpa in the lining of cans. to hear more about the companies and the stories in our first hour, go to our web site at datelinenbc.com.