Time to take a close look at the food on your plate. A new study
, funded by the European Commission, revealed that many pesticides, including those commonly found in the foods we eat, may disrupt the hormones in men, particularly young men and babies.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of London and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at the pesticides most often used in European fruits and vegetables. These are chemicals that are approved for use in many countries, including the United States.
The results? Out of 37 widely used pesticides tested by the group, thirty of the chemicals blocked or mimicked male hormones. Sixteen of these 30 chemicals were not previously known as hormone disruptors, while there was some previous evidence for the other 14.
So the big questions are: Which pesticides were tested and which foods are these chemicals used on? Of the tested compounds, the worst offender in terms of male hormone blocking was the insecticide fenitrothion, an organophosphate insecticide used on orchard fruits, grains, rice, vegetables and other crops.
Others pesticides found to disrupt male hormones include fludioxonil, fenhexamid, dimethomorph and imazalil, which are all fungicides. The bad news is that fungicides like these are usually used close to harvest, so traces tend to remain on the foods we bring home from the store and serve to our families.
Health experts are particularly concerned about the effects of these hormone disruptors on fetuses and infants that may be exposed in the womb or through breast milk because these chemicals might affect a young boys early reproductive development.