The Effect of Synthetic Chemicals on the Endocrine System

The endocrine system is a collective of glands and the associated hormones they excrete. Hormones regulate several functions within the body including sexual development, development of the foetus in the womb and reproductive function.

The endocrine system also supports energy production and the control of metabolism in the body. The endocrine system supports the development of the brain and nervous system. The endocrine system supports mood and tissue function. The Hormone system begins working from the time of conception and continues working through to our passing.

How do chemicals effect and manipulate the Endocrine System?

There is potential for Hormone altering chemicals to affect the growing foetus even when the mother is exposed to very low level of chemicals during pregnancy. During a foetus’ development, hormones regulate how cells divide and function. Hormones work to distinguish and form the organs and physical system of the body.

The chemicals that can cause damage to the growing foetus are called teratogens or teratogenic compounds. The growing foetus is most susceptible between days 15 and 60 from conception. During this time period the physiological systems and organs are laid out.

There is still potential for damage before and after this “organogenesis” period.

Some of the chemicals that can cause Endocrine disruption

Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) has been used as a pesticide in America since the1930’s. Half a century ago, biologists started studying the effects of DDT on laboratory animals, it was found that DDT interfered with reproductive development. Research has also discovered that DDT can inhibit the complete development of female reproductive organs. This can adversely affect reproduction abilities.

Polychlorinated biphenyls
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) can be found in industrial products and lubricants. It is manufactured by heating benzene and chloride. Health effects have been seen in individuals working at the manufacturing plants.

Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A is found in many plastic products. A recent report has expressed concerns regarding exposure of foetuses, infants, and young children.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
Typically used as a fire retardant. It can be found in building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane and fabric.

Phthalates are found in some cosmetics and air fresheners as well as children’s soft toys. Phthalates are to cause potential health concern as they are known to disrupt the endocrine system of mammals.

There is some evidence to suggest there has been a rise of birth defects to the male reproductive system.

Alkylphenols are used as a precursor for the manufacture of detergents, in lubricants and fuels. Alkylphenols can be found in Rubber products, glues and coatings.

Disease caused as a result of Chemical exposure through the Endocrine system
Breast cancer, prostate cancer and testicular cancer are believed to be closely associated with contact with various Endocrine disruptors. The effects Endocrine disruptors have on the cause of Autism are also being closely studied. Disabilities caused as a result of missing or Abnormal DNA also have a connection to the amount of Endocrine Disruptors in the Environment.

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