Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A.
Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects. These chemicals have also been referred to as endocrine modulators, environmental hormones, and endocrine active compounds.
Endocrine Disruptors Can:
- Mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens (the female sex hormone) and androgens (the male sex hormone) and thyroid hormones, potentially producing over stimulation.
- Bind to a receptor within a cell and block the endogenous hormone from binding. The normal signal then fails to occur and the body fails to respond properly.
- Interfere or block the way natural hormones or their receptors are made or controlled, for example by blocking their metabolism in the liver.
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