This post is from 2014. Many changes have occurred since this, including the approval of our improved study protocol by the School of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. Details on that are at: The Stealth Syndrome Human Study.
The primary goal of the Stealth Syndromes Project is to enable the average person to live a healthier life by avoiding Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDC). Doing this requires the development of effective and convenient-to-implement strategies to identify EDC sources and to avoid them.
While generalized studies are available concerning EDC leaching from plastics and their contamination of food, cosmetics, personal and household products, no one has done a prospective, controlled human study on the subject.
To accomplish that goal, co-investigator Lewis Perdue a (see brief biography Lewis Perdue, Co-Founder) – has volunteered to become a lab rat in an experiment that is sort of an “UNsupersize Me” trial.
Co-founder Becca L. Yeamans-Irwin who got married in 2014 and may start a family, has elected not to participate given the increasing number of published, peer-reviewed studies indicating that certain EDCs have deleterious effects on fertility and the unborn.
Because all experimental substances involved are readily available consumer products and none have been banned by any government agency in the United States, human subject cautions are not legally or ethically applicable.
Nonetheless, both participants have no objection to signing university or other informed consent documents should they be required by laboratories or investigators assisting in the experiment.
Theorize that some unknown number of environmental chemicals will exhibit temporary epigenetic changes and/or double-stranded DNA breaks during exposure, but that some or all of those changes will be reversible once the chemical exposure has decreased or ended.
We further theorize that avoiding substances known or suspected of leaching EDCs will lower bodily concentrations of those substances and that lowering those will result in healthier genetic profiles as measured by standard blood, epigenetic and double-stranded DNA break profiles.
The experiment will involve three testing methods:
- Weekly blood profile measurements as health-linked proxies of EDC body burden.
- Monthly double-stranded DNA break levels.
- Monthly epigenetic of specific epigenetic locations known to be associated with cancer, obesity, aging, infertility, or Alzheimer’s disease.
We propose using specific elements of standard blood profiles that can provide direct health assessments of inflammation, glucose tolerance, lipid and cholesterol levels and similar well-established indicators.
Measurement & Correlation
Test subjects will engage in real-time, daily logging of everything they eat, drink use, or apply to their bodies and will involve the removal of one class of item per week.
Items chosen for removal will be selected according to peer-reviewed, published data measuring EDCs in consumer products.
We theorize that removal of items known to contain or leach EDCs will result in improvement of test subjects’ blood profiles as well as epigenetic profiles and double-stranded DNA break analysis.
If that is confirmed, then it may be reasonable to conclude that the removal of those items was responsible.
It is possible that the change of EDC levels measured may fall beneath the noise level or the margins of error for an individual test. In those cases, we anticipate that the longer term levels will show a decrease.
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Week 1: Test subjects who are already consciously refraining from EDCs will undergo a week of becoming “average” consumers: consuming food and beverages from cans, microwaving food in plastic, consuming water from plastic bottles and polycarbonate containers etc.
The body burden testing would be done on a weekly basis as each of the test subjects eliminates a certain class of products from their diet or other daily activity. (see below for product class definitions).
Tests may need to be expanded beyond six weeks in order to produce better resolution among products
Detailed Test Schedule
Prior to testing intervention: subjects fill out baseline questionnaires related to normal diet and lifestyle.
Product Class Definitions
- Product Class 1: Food – A: Canned fruits, vegetables, etc
- Product Class 2: Food – B: convenience foods (microwave, fast, deli, carryout)
- Product Class 3: Alcoholic beverages
- Product Class 4: Non-Alcoholic beverages – water, soft drinks etc.
- Product Class 5: skin contact/inhalation
Product Class Details:
Product Class 1: Food – A:
- A week of changing from cans and plastic to glass (tomatoes, olive oil etc.)
- Plastic-wrapped dry foods (bread, pasta etc)
- Plastic-wrapped wet fresh foods (veggies, cheese, meat)
- Plastic storage bags
- Yogurt in with milk
- Cutting boards
Product Class 2: Food – B:
- Foods with metalized plastic “crisping” surfaces (Hot Pockets, frozen pizza)
- Take-out and deli plastic containers of all sorts.
- Restaurant and fast food
- Frozen and similar convenience foods
Product Class 3 (Alcoholic Beverages)
- Wine in plastic pouches/bottles
- Beer and wine in cans and bottles.
- Distilled spirits in glass versus plastic bottles.
- Wine “on tap” is already at many locations. The Kegs are lined with plastic. I would suspect that beer kegs are too.
Product Class 4 (Non-alcoholic beverages)
- Filtered tap water versus unfiltered.
- Homes/Offices where the water supply comes via PVC or Pex plastics.
- Beverages in pouches, boxes and “paper bottles’
- Water in hydration bladders like Camelbak
- Drip coffee maker and Keurig (plastic) as well as the Sodastream
Product Class 5 (skin contact/inhalation)
NOTE: Because of the ubiquitous nature of flame retardants, they will not be a test item.
- Laundry detergents (phthalates, fragrances, surfactants)
- Dish and dishwasher soaps (same as laundry)
- Toothpaste (plastic tube) … alternative?
- Toothbrush … what are the bristles made of?
- Fitbits, plastic watch bands
- Gore-Tex and other waterproof coatings
- Paper currency
The small number of participants makes this more of a “proof of concept” experiment that can create valuable yet anecdotal data that can be considered by individuals in the personal health decisions they make into which products to choose or avoid.
In addition to markers determined from blood, DNA and epigenetic profiles, EDCs identified eliminated products will be the ongoing subjects of blog posts and/or web site articles that further detail the possible mechanisms and signaling pathways affected and examine the possible consequences.