Endocrine Disruptors

Authored by: Vera Lucia S.S. de Castro

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Many pollutants are known to adversely affect development and physiology by interfering with normal endocrine functions. Among them, numerous pesticides are described as able to change the endocrine system, since the differentiation and development of the reproductive system are dependent of the action of hormones. Endocrine-disrupter chemicals (EDCs) are substances in the environment, food, and consumer products that interfere with hormone biosynthesis, metabolism, or action, resulting in a deviation from normal homeostatic control or reproduction. Exposure to an EDC may have different consequences for an adult compared with a developing fetus or infant. The developing organism interaction with these chemicals may lead to the development of a disease or dysfunction later in life. Results from animal models and epidemiological studies converge to implicate them as a significant concern to public health since their mechanisms involve different pathways that are present in wildlife and humans. Furthermore, effects of different classes of EDCs may be additive or even synergistic, but there are limited data on the interactions between them. An increased understanding of the potential human and environmental health risks of exposure to single and mixtures of EDCs as well as the efficient removal process of EDCs from water are important but remain understudied. This entry presents an overview of the environmental EDC contamination and its possible effects on different organisms. However, it is beyond the scope of this entry to describe all the possible disruption events of the endocrine system.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.