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Published on Apr 9, 2015
As society has become more aware of potential harm from exposure to various chemical compounds, one group of chemicals has received increasing attention from many scientists and public health advocates. These chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors and people can be exposed to them in many ways.
The endocrine system regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age, including the development of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, as well as metabolism and blood sugar levels. The female and male reproductive organs, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are all major constituents of the endocrine system.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “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.” These substances can be either naturally occurring or man-made.
There are a diverse range of substances that are believed to act as endocrine disruptors by many in the science community. Some have been used in pesticides, herbicides, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and even as a component in some building materials. Others may be found in contaminated foods and water and people can even be exposed by simply breathing unhealthy air.
A partial list of substances and chemicals suspected to act as endocrine disruptors includes: Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Bisphenol A (BPA) Perchlorate Phthalates Phytoestrogens Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds DDT Fire Retardants Arsenic Cadmium Lead Mercury
These are just a few things to know about endocrine disruptors and potential exposure concerns for workers and the public. To learn more about this or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown on the screen.