Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement
• An endocrine-disrupting substance is a compound, either natural or synthetic, which through environmental or inappropriate developmental exposures alters the hormonal and homeostatic systems that enable the organism to communicate with and respond to its environment.
• Issues key to understanding the mechanisms of action and consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals include age at exposure, latency from exposure, the mixture of chemicals, dose-response dynamics, and long-term latent effects.
• Because of the shared properties of the chemicals and the similarities of the receptors and enzymes involved in the synthesis, release, and degradation of hormones, no endocrine system is immune to endocrine disrupting chemicals.
• Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals may be transmitted to further generations through germline epigenetic modifications or from continued exposure of offspring to the environmental insult.
• The evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals is strong, and there is mounting evidence for effects on other endocrine systems, including thyroid, neuroendocrine, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis.
• The Precautionary Principle is key to enhancing endocrine and reproductive health, and should be used to inform decisions about exposure to, and risk from, potential endocrine disruptors.
• Scientific societies such as The Endocrine Society should partner with other organizations with the scientific and medical expertise to evaluate effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals in humans.
Last updated on 14 June 2011