Reviews on environmental health 2016 8 3() doi 10.1515/reveh-2016-0014
After the Second World War, infatuation with modern products has exponentially widened the spectrum of chemicals used. Some of them are capable of hijacking the endocrine system by blocking or imitating a hormone and are referred to as hormonally active chemicals or endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals that the body was not designed for evolutionarily and they are present in every matrix of the environment. We are living in a chemical world where the exposures are ubiquitous and take place in combinations that can interact with the endocrine system and some other metabolic activities in unexpected ways. The complexity of interaction of these compounds can be understood by the fact that they interfere with gene expression at extremely low levels, consequently harming an individual life form, its offspring or population. As the endocrine system plays a critical role in many biological or physiological functions, by interfering body’s endocrine system, endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) have various adverse effects on human health, starting from birth defects to developmental disorders, deadly deseases like cancer and even immunological disorders. Most of these compounds have not been tested yet for safety and their effects cannot be assessed by the available techniques. The establishment of proper exposure measurement techniques and integrating correlation is yet to be achieved to completely understand the impacts at various levels of the endocrine axis.