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The Shift in Human Health from Infection-Related Diseases to Chronic Illnesses and the Importance of Indoor Chemical Exposure

  • Carl-Gustaf BornehagEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 64)

Abstract

It has been recently estimated that the pattern of the global burden of diseases – expressed as disability-adjusted life years (DALY) – has changed over the last 20 years and a shift from communicable disorders to noncommunicable disorders has been observed. This shift is more pronounced in high-income countries. Even though there is lack of knowledge regarding the cause(s) behind the increase in chronic diseases/disorders, there are scientifically based suspicions that environmental factors do play an important role in interaction with genetic predisposition. Especially diffuse emissions of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) from consumer products are a matter of concern. The four reasons for concern with human EDC exposure are:
  • The low-dose effect and a non-monotonic dose-response relationship

  • Early life sensitivity and the persistency of effects

  • The large number of EDC sources in our daily life

  • The wide range of health effects

A full chain model is proposed which is following chemicals from their sources over environmental exposures in food, air, and dust over to human uptake and finally to human health effects. The model also includes modifying factors for environmental exposures, different pathways for human uptake, and biological mechanisms involved in health effects. With scientific information in this model risk management should be possible and result in preventive actions in order to reduce children’s exposure to health relevant factors.

Keywords

Chronic disorders Consumer products Endocrine disrupting chemicals Indoor chemical exposure Phthalates Bisphenol A 

Abbreviations

ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

ASD

Autism spectrum disorders

BBzP

Butyl benzyl phthalate

BPA

Bisphenol A

DALY

Disability-adjusted life years

DEHP

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

DES

Diethylstilbestrol

DiBP

Di-iso-butyl phthalate

DiDP

Di-iso-decyl phthalate

DINP

Di-iso-nonyl phthalate

DnBP

Di-n-butyl phthalate

DnOP

Di-n-octyl phthalate

EDCs

Endocrine-disrupting compounds

HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus

NCD

Noncommunicable disease

PFC

Perfluorinated chemicals

PFOA

Perfluorooctanoic acid

PFOS

Perfluorooctane sulfonate

PVC

Poly vinyl chloride

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesKarlstad UniversitySE-651 88Sweden

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