What are endocrine-disrupting chemicals?
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals disrupt the body’s endocrine system, causing adverse effects on development, reproduction, the immune and neurological systems in humans and wildlife. Natural and man-made substances are believed to cause endocrine disruption, including plasticizers such as EC drugs, compounds such as dioxins and dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and bisphenol.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be found in everyday products. Including flame retardants, foods, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are a global problem for the environment and human health. They are defined as “a chemical or chemical compound that interferes with any aspect of the action of hormones.” It is estimated that there are around 1000 chemicals with endocrine auction properties.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals include pesticides, fungicides, industrial chemicals, plasticizers, nonylphenols, metals, pharmaceuticals, and phytoestrogens. Human exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals occurs primarily through ingestion and, to some extent, through inhalation and dermal ingestion. Most endocrine-disrupting chemicals are lipophilic and bioaccumulate in adipose tissue, thus having a long half-life in the body.
The full effect of human exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals is difficult to predict, as adverse effects develop late and manifest later in life and may not be seen in some. Importance of exposure time. The developing fetus and newborns are the most vulnerable to endocrine disruption. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can interfere with the synthesis, action, and metabolism of sex steroid hormones, leading to developmental and reproductive problems, infertility, and hormone-sensitive cancers in both women and men.
Types of endocrine-disrupting chemicals
Natural hormones released by an animal into the environment and chemicals produced by one species that perform hormonal actions on other species. For example, human hormones that are accidentally reactivated during the processing of human waste circulating in sewage can cause changes in fish.
Natural chemicals, including plant components (so-called phytoestrogens such as genistein or control) and toxins produced by certain fungi.
Artificially produced drugs are intended to be highly hormonally active. The contraceptive pill and hormone-responsive cancer treatments are examples. They can also be found in sewage sludge.
Chemicals and man-made by-products are released into the environment. Laboratory experiments have suggested that some man-made chemicals can cause endocrine changes. These include some pesticides (including DDT and other chlorinated compounds), chemicals in some medical and consumer products (such as some plastic additives), and many industrial chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals mechanisms
- Research on endocrine disruptors comes primarily from animal studies, where researchers can explore how endocrine disruptors disrupt the endocrine system and hormonal changes. Some chemicals act on the endocrine system to alter the body’s homeostatic mechanisms or to initiate processes at unusual times in the life cycle. Chemicals show their effects in many different ways:
- Certain chemicals act on the endocrine system to alter the body’s homeostatic mechanisms or to initiate processes at unusual times in the life cycle. Chemicals show their effects in many different ways:
- They can mimic the biological activity of the hormone by binding to the cell receptor, leading to an unwanted response by initiating the cell’s normal response to the natural hormone at the wrong time or at high levels (agonist effect).
- They can bind to the receiver but do not activate it. In contrast, the presence of the chemical at the receptor prevents the natural hormone from binding (antagonistic effect).
- They bind to transport proteins in the blood, thus altering the number of natural hormones in circulation.
- These disrupt the body’s metabolic processes and affect the rate of synthesis or breakdown of natural hormones.
- Endocrine disorders in the human body can cause breast cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid and ovarian dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, nerve damage, and esophagitis. In addition to the decrease in fertility, the incidence of endometriosis, and other types of cancer. Exposure to endocrine disruptors during pregnancy and immediately after birth represents a great long-term health risk.
Some endocrine-disrupting chemicals and specific health outcomes
Research by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other researchers and the NIEHS has reported significant effects of endocrine disruptors.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic estrogen created in 1938; From 1940 to 1970 it was included in cattle feed to increase muscle growth and was prescribed for the prevention of miscarriages. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1971 reported that the medical community discontinued its use after reporting an association between fetal exposure in the first trimester of pregnancy and rare cancer (vaginal adenocarcinoma), which manifested in adolescence, and in young women exposed decades later.
These DES daughters experience many of the diseases and disorders highlighted in the list to the right. 8 DES sons had an increased risk of noncancerous epididymal cysts (growth in the testes).
Other endocrine-disrupting chemicals examples
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- Organochlorines such as dioxins and perchlorate can affect thyroid function.
- Dioxin TCDD is known cancer, and the European Union’s priority list classifies TCDD as an endocrine chemical inhibitor.
- IARC and the US EPA list specific PCBs such as Arochlor as “potential cancers.”
- Phthalates, BPA, and other packaging chemicals can cause reproductive diseases. D (2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate (DHP) is a high-volume production chemical. NTP has found that DEHP poses a risk to human development, especially in sick baby boys. Current human exposures Bisphenol-A.
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) can cause a number of problems, including cancer, thyroid problems, and neurodevelopmental effects. Many brominated flame retardants are banned in the EU and US.
- Pesticides like tamoxifen and DDT have carcinogenic properties.