Office Workers' Exposures: Hormonal Activity of Chemicals Detected with Silicone Wristbands

February 15, 2023
1:00 pm US Eastern Time


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People are exposed to mixtures of a wide variety of hormone-disrupting chemicals. Traditional research methods generally evaluate a small number of chemicals at a time, rather than examining mixtures. Dr. Anna Young of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health presented a new study which used silicone wristbands as a novel method to monitor exposures to known and potentially unknown chemicals in the office environment. Study subjects were drawn from four countries, providing data on exposures in multiple parts of the world. 

Wristbands were worn by 243 office workers in the USA, UK, China, and India. The researchers extracted chemical mixtures from the wristbands and examined the chemical mixtures for total hormonal activity. They considered estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone receptors. Chemicals playing an important role in overall mixture effects included chemicals used as plasticizers, fragrance, sunscreen, and pesticides, as well as chemical signatures in the wristbands with unknown identities and sources.

The presentation discussed the role of buildings and personal care products in exposures to endocrine disrupting chemical mixtures. The presentation will also highlight concerns about chemicals that are not yet identified or thoroughly studied.

The webinar was moderated by Sharyle Patton of the Biomonitoring Resource Center. 

Featured Speaker

Anna Young is a Research Associate in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Associate Director of the Harvard Healthy Buildings program. Her research focuses on our indoor exposures to complex mixtures of hormone-disrupting chemicals and builds evidence for healthier materials as a strategy to reduce these chemical exposures in buildings. She earned her PhD and MS in Environmental Health from the Harvard Chan School, and she also holds a BA in Computer Science and Environmental Studies from Yale University.

This webinar was hosted by the EDC Strategies Partnership, which is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel and Sarah Howard (Environmental Health Sciences' Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies HEEDS), Génon Jensen (Health and Environment Alliance, HEAL), and Rachel Massey (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page.