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Environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals and human health

Darbre, P. (2019) Environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals and human health. In: D'Mello, J. P. F. (ed.) A Handbook of Environmental Toxicology: human disorders and ecotoxicology. CAB International, Egham, pp. 214-232. ISBN 9781786394675

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Abstract/Summary

Many environmental pollutant chemicals have been now found to interfere in the actions of hormones and have been termed endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). They may act by altering hormone synthesis in the endocrine gland, by altering transport of the hormone to the target site or by interfering in cellular responses in the target cells. This may lead to adverse physiological consequences which may even become manifest at a population level. Some EDCs are found as natural components of microbes (mycoestrogens) or plants (phytoestrogens) but most EDCs are man-made chemicals which have been released into the environment from human activity. Such chemicals include pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, products of incineration (polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins and –furans), components of plastics (bisphenol A, phthalates), surfactants (alkyl phenols), flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), stain resistance coatings (perfluoro compounds) and a range of components used in personal care products as antimicrobials (parabens, triclosan), antiperspirant (aluminium salts), conditioning agents (cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes), UV filters (benzophenones) and for fragrance (butylphenylmethylproprianol, polycyclic musks, nitromusks). This chapter discusses the extent to which EDCs may enter the human tissues from environmental exposures and the mechanisms by which EDCs disrupt hormone action, Evidence is discussed linking EDC exposure with adverse effects on human health including on reproductive health, thyroid health and energy metabolism. Concerns are discussed for long-term effects of foetal exposure to EDCs on adverse outcomes for adult endocrine health.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Biomedical Sciences
ID Code:93849
Publisher:CAB International

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