There is growing interest in studying the possible health effects of the increasing number of chemicals used in industry, food, and consumer products. Anecdotal and scientific observations have come to suggest that these chemicals in our environment may be exerting harmful effects on the environment and the health of wildlife and man. Phthalates and parabens are included among the many chemicals now being studied for their endocrine disrupting potentials. Other types of EDCs include industrial solvents and lubricants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), dioxins, plastics like bisphenol A, pesticides, fungicides, and pharmaceutical agents. The Endocrine Society released a scientific statement discussing the impact of endocrine disruptors on our health.
They describe EDCs as “substances in our environment, food, and consumer products that interfere with hormone biosynthesis, metabolism, or action resulting in deviation from normal homeostatic control or reproduction.” EDCs often have a phenolic moiety that mimics natural steroid hormones.
EDCs have low water solubility and high lipid solubility making way for bioaccumulation in adipose tissue. Conditions associated with endocrine disruption include infertility, decreased sperm count, breast cancer, endometriosis, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, asthma, allergies, and obesity.