Chapter 11: Endocrine Disruption in Humans
Concerns about possible wildlife and human health effects.
Many in vivo and in vitro tests have been proposed for screening chemicals for endocrine-disrupting activity, and several regulatory agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have recommended strategies involving tiered testing schemes, in response to concerns about the possible adverse effects of such chemicals on the hormonal systems of wildlife and humans. Such chemicals have been called endocrine disruptors (EDs), and are alleged to mimic (agonise) or block (antagonise) the effects of endogenous steroid sex hormones. Reported adverse human health effects associated with exposure to them include deterioration in semen quality, various defects on gonadal development, and testicular, prostate, uterine and breast cancers, as well as hypospadias, endometriosis and effects on the thyroid gland.