A Look at Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and their Effects

Disturbances in hormonal production and regulation by chemical agents can negatively impact a variety of critically important physiological processes. In this blog post, we take a look at endocrine disrupting chemicals and review some key examples and effects.

About Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are chemicals that have the ability to interfere with normal bodily endocrine functioning. Disruption of the endocrine system by chemical substances can occur in several important ways:

  • By binding to cellular receptors, thereby interfering with proper binding of the intended hormone.
  • By inhibiting normal hormonal production.
  • By mimicking an intended hormone, thereby binding to cellular receptors and affecting proper hormonal response.

The potential deleterious effects stemming from exposure to EDCs make them a subject of ongoing concern and scientific focus.

A wide range of EDCs exists. Some common examples include the following:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) -- An industrial chemical compound used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
  • Dioxins -- Persistent environmental pollutant chemicals that are generated by-products of several industrial processes.
  • Perchlorate -- A chemical compound used as an oxidizer in munitions, propellants, fireworks, and related products.
  • Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) -- Chemical compounds used to impart temperature resistance, decreased friction, and water/oil repelling properties to many products.
  • Phthalates -- Chemicals added primarily to plastic compounds to increase their pliancy and stability.
  • Phytoestrogens -- Plant-based compounds that mimic the actions and effects of estrogen in the body
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) -- Chemicals added to certain products (e.g., plastics) to make them more flame retardant.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) -- Chemicals often used as lubricants in capacitors, transformers, and other electrical equipment.

Several routes of exposure to endocrine disruptors exist, including oral exposure (e.g., consuming contaminated food products), dermal exposure (e.g., using cosmetics or similar personal care products that contain EDCs), inhalation exposure (e.g., breathing air containing such chemicals), and more.

By their nature, and given their ability to interfere with the body's endocrine system, EDCs can yield numerous harmful effects:

  • developmental malformations
  • immune system disturbances
  • impaired nervous system function
  • increased risk of cancer
  • metabolic disruption
  • reproductive system dysfunction

About Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, together with the damaging effects they pose on metabolism, reproduction, and other endocrine-related functions, can constitute a threat to human health and wellbeing.

For professionals who deal with endocrine disruptors in any capacity, having immediate access to detailed information on a multitude of harmful chemicals is a highly valuable asset. ToxPlanet can help address this need with our suite of authoritative decision support solutions. To learn more about our offerings and how they can help address your information needs, contact us today and register for a Free Trial.