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Claim: http://www.ewg.org/research/mens-health

"There has been significant research in recent decades showing that chronic conditions such as heart disease, prostate cancer, infertility may be linked to everyday exposures to chemicals in water, consumer products and food."

There are no links to examples of such research on that webpage. Also it does not specify which chemicals are responsible for listed illnesses. Is the claim a lie or does it have any scientific evidence to back it up?

  • I think they may have been referring to one of the articles about this new research. I found this being shared on Facebook and also some criticism of that paper: sciencemediacentre.org/22728 blog.americanchemistry.com/2014/02/… – Ladadadada Mar 19 '14 at 18:32
  • This is a pretty broad question. e.g. Would a discussion of lead poisoning be an acceptable answer? – Oddthinking Mar 20 '14 at 9:52
  • @Oddthinking, no, I don't think lead poisoning was mentioned in the article. The claim is for "chronic conditions such as heart disease, prostate cancer, infertility". I guess if any of those are results of a lead poisoning, then a discussion of lead poisoning would be acceptable – Oleksiy Mar 20 '14 at 17:53
  • @Ladadadada that looks like it could be an answer – Oleksiy Mar 20 '14 at 17:54
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Lead poisoning is one example of an every day exposure that has been known about for centuries.

Lead poisoning is associated with heart disease, prostate cancer and infertility

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A well known culprit for heart disease is table salt. (Sodium Chloride)

Raised blood pressure is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, responsible for 62% of stroke and 49% of coronary heart disease. Importantly, the risk of CVD increases throughout the range of blood pressure, starting at 115/75 mmHg.(Lewington S et al. Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies. Lancet. 2002; 360, 1903-1913) Salt is the major factor that increases blood pressure and is therefore responsible for many strokes and heart attacks every year. - See more here.

An high-fat diet must also be taken into account. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of what types of fat there are, what it does to help you (obtain fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, provide energy.) and harm you. (As in heart disease, narrowing of arteries because of fatty deposits such as cholesterol.) This is true not just for those who are obese, though both high fat diet and obesity are risk factors for cause heart disease and vascular problems. Obesity on it's own but with a favorable diet - ie. a balanced one, but eaten in excess quantity - is known to cause heart disease, type ll diabetes, increased risk of certain cancers, heart attack and stroke. See here.

Prostate cancer seems to have flimsy evidence to support the idea that a high fat and low fruit diet may add to susceptibility:

Men from western countries, such as the UK and USA, have a higher rate of prostate cancer than men from eastern countries such as China and Japan. It’s thought that this might be because western diets tend to be higher in animal fat (including dairy products) and lower in fresh fruit and vegetables. Asian men also tend to have a higher intake of soy in their diet. Soy and soy products contain chemicals called phyto-oestrogens. Researchers believe these might reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but more research is needed to confirm this.

If you finish the article here, it emphasizes that more research is needed, ie. a strong causal connection can not yet be made between a particular diet and the onset of Prostate Cancer.

With regards infertility, here it is suggested avoiding fads such as ginseng, kelp, oysters, garlic and champaigne, which have a folk-tail connection to increased fertility, and just follow a balanced diet:

an eight-year study of more than 18,000 women that uncovered ten evidence-based suggestions for improving fertility. This work, from the landmark Nurses' Health Study, fills a critical information gap on diet and fertility.

I can find no suggestion (or study) that a particular food reduces fertility. However, there is a suggestion here certain tropical foods can cause spontaneous abortion. (Miscarriage) There are similar claims elsewhere, but again, no studies to confirm or deny a causal connection.

Some ancient methods of birth control are listed here, but again, no study to support their effect, though many are known to be generally poisonous, and we can expect they wouldn't do any prospective baby much good, nor the mother.

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