November 27, 2008
Ulla Hass is a toxicologist with the National Food Institute of Copenhagen. With her research staff, she undertook a study on 1200 rats, according to a simple principle: it involved exposing the animals to 3 chemical substances (one phthalate and two pesticides), each one being administered in a dose known to be without effect, in order to evaluate their impact once they were all present in the organism.
The experiment was conducted on adult rats and followed up by the study of their offspring. The results were alarming. Malformations, sexual dysfunctions: the baby rats of this study had nothing "normal" any more.
And Ulla Hass explained: "Take 3 substances in doses which, when each one is taken independently from the others, do not produce effects. Together, they cause serious malformations. My principal message is that if we do not take into account the effects caused by mixtures, in risk evaluation, we underestimate the risks we run for humans."
0 + 0 + 0 = 7, states Ulla Hass … or a first quantification of 'the cocktail effect’.
An effect which we can also obtain via cosmetics, which sometimes contain chemical substances in amounts considered as not having an effect and which are found mixed in our pots of creams or added to other expositions to which all of us are subjected by means of a great many products …
• Information and photograph drawn from the documentary "Males in Danger", by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry De Lestrade, broadcast November 25, 2008 on the Arte channel.
• The transmission was followed by a discussion with the realizers, transcribed on the website of the program , which also proposes extracts of the film and much additional information.