How our environment impacts our health
The so-called civilization diseases increase strongly since 20 years.
Large-scale epidemiological surveys feature correlations between environmental factors and chronic diseases such as cancer or allergies.
Molecules or materials found in the air, in the water, in food or in daily consuled goods have immediate effects (like allergies) or long-term silent and invasive effects (like cancers)
The main health risks are caused by
carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic substances (CMR)
persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances (PBT)
endocrine disruptors (ED)
corrosives and irritants
other packaging components which may migrate
SUBSTANCES OF VERY HIGH CONCERN
The term "Substances of very high concern" is used by EU to describe chemicals that are harmful to health or to ecosystems. These substances are classified into three specific risk groups;
This family of CMRs (Carcinogens, Mutagens or reproToxics) includes chemicals that can modify the genome or the epigenetic mechanism.
2. Toxic and bioaccumulative substances
The 2nd family identifies harmful substances which are difficult to break down and accumulate in the food chain. These are called PBT (for Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic) and vPvB (short for very persistent and very bioaccumulative) substances.
3. Substances at the equivalent level of concern
This family includes among others and in particular endocrine disruptors. For these substances, there is no defined protocol. They are identified on a case-by-case basis.
Substances of very high concern are mainly complex synthetic products, resulting from petrochemicals or complex chemistry.These substances act on the body's cells by altering DNA, altering epigenetic expression, oxydative stress or because they induce a toxic immune response over time.
ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS A CLASS OF ITS OWN
Among these high-risk substances, endocrine disruptors are in a class of their own.
They are very complex by the very nature of hormones which are vectors of metabolic information - which means that this information can be active whatever its intensity (its dose) and that it can be minimized or on the contrary potentiated by the context (the cocktail effect).
Their complexity creates an indeterminacy that requires the legislator to take positions that are not included in regulatory toxicology.
Allergy is an "immune chaos", a disproportionate response of the organism to certain substances which a priori are not directly toxic.
These allergies can be respiratory, skin or food.
WHO has designated allergies as the 3rd chronic disease in the world since 2016 and predicts, by 2050, that they will affect one in two people ww.
Allergies are therefore developing in a worrying manner. Increasing daily exposure to certain allergenic substances would be the cause of this increase.
Fragrances are a major source of allergens. The SCCS (Scientific committee on consumer safety) lists more than 170.
CORROSIVE & IRRITANTS
The European Union defines skin corrosion as irreversible skin damage and skin irritation to "the appearance of reversible lesions on the skin following application of a test substance for a period of time. up to four hours. ”*
Unlike allergies, the corrosive and irritant power of a substance is proportional to its concentration.
Preventing the risk of irreversible and reversible damage involves banning the substances of the most concern and using a balanced and controlled formulation of cleaning products
* Regulation 1272/2008 relating to the classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures
Nanomaterials are objects measuring 100 nanometers or less.
The nanometer is the billionth of a meter.
This size gives nanomaterials a multiplied exchange surface. The physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials are also unprecedented.
At these orders of magnitude, nano-silver becomes a powerful antibacterial, nano-carbon becomes up to a hundred times stronger than steel, nano-titanium dioxide becomes transparent, liquids become super-fluid, etc
But nanomaterials have effects on health which are not understood and they are difficult to identify by consumers.
The packaging is mainly petrochemical products. Their biodegradability is low or zero.
They are ecotoxic. They can also have indirect toxic effects on health. Their plastic or their resin can release PE in particular.
This is the case with Bisphenol A or BPA, which was banned in France in baby bottles in 2010 and in all food containers in 2015.