Health implications of untested hormone-disrupting chemical

A report titled ‘State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals’, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO, and released in February 2013, calls for urgent research on health implications of synthetic chemicals which are found extensively in household and industrial products; most of these are untested for their effects on the endocrine system as well as for other specific disorders.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are usually synthetic products such as pesticides, metals, additives/preservatives/
contaminants to food products, personal care products; they also enter the environment via industrial discharges. EDCs are suspected to be associated with altered reproductive function, growth disturbances, neurodevelopmental disorders in children and altered immune function. They have also been linked to breast cancer and are suspected teratogens since most can cross the placental barrier and are also found in breast milk. They have also been linked to asthma, stroke, Alzheimer and Parkinson disease….

The joint report notes that endocrine-related disorders are on the rise in humans as well as wildlife populations and laboratory studies have linked EDCs to disease outcomes. Genital malformations, adverse pregnancy outcomes and endocrine-related cancers have also been increasing. The report highlights that up to 40% of young men in some countries have low semen quality and also the alarming trend of earlier thelarche. The summary for decision-makers section of the report notes that ‘close to 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors, hormone synthesis or hormone conversion. However, only a small fraction of these chemicals have been investigated in tests capable of identifying overt endocrine effects in intact organisms

Read the full article by Dr. Soumyadeep B at : National Medical Journal of India


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