Endocine Discrupting Chemicals (known as EDCs) have been shown to be having a negative effect upon the population and wildlife. EDCs are chemicals which disrupt the hormone system and can be found in many household chemicals and pharmaceuticals. They either mimic the estrogen and androgen sex steroid hormones by binding to their natural receptors, alter the synthesis and breakdown of natural hormones or modify the production and functioning of hormone receptors.
Below is a table of chemicals that are estrogenic…
Although it is difficult to test and show direct effects that certain EDCs may be having upon individuals, it is clear that these EDCs are harming wildlife and potentially causing an increase in cancers and fertility problems.
There are however problems with testing the effects of the EDCs upon humans. EDCs can cause problems with early development of the brain, reproductive, immune and metabolic systems, however, the effects don’t usually show until potentially years or decades after being exposed to the EDCs. It is also difficult to tell whether it a combination if EDCs and something else that are having these detrimental effects or whether it is jut the EDCs themselves.
Despite the apparent difficulties involved with testing the direct effects of these chemicals, there is a direct link that has been established between EDCs and their dangers.
For example, it is now widely accepted that being exposed to estrogenic EDCs is a risk factor for breast cancer, fibroids and polycystic ovarian syndrome (in women). There are also studies that have shown that exposure to some EDCs can be linked to some neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and diminished cognitive function in children.
It is not only humans that these EDCs can affect. Tests have shown that EDCs can cause harm to the reproductive systems of a broad range of vertebrate species.