Impact of Endocrine Disruptions on Man: The likely Causes and Effects
It is now common knowledge that synthetic chemicals in the environment can find access into the body of humans and wildlife, thereby mimicking the action of endogenous hormones that regulate maintenance of normal growth, metabolism and reproduction. The chemicals able to do this are known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) which come from various sources ranging from household items to synthetic products and pharmaceuticals to plant derived estrogens. Although data linking cause and effect of the EDCs is extremely rare in humans owing to the fact that ethical issues would not allow for the use of humans as experimental models, yet a growing body of literature suggests a strong link between either pre- or postnatal exposure to environmental chemicals and observed adverse health outcomes. This review intends to bring together previous efforts to ascertain the impact of EDCs on human health, the missing research link and the possible precautionary strategies. This is important considering the magnitude of the adverse risks that exposure to endocrine disruptors might cause. Also, scientific uncertainty shall not delay precautionary action in reducing exposure to these chemicals as data available indicates transgenerational effects at population level due to chronic exposure to these chemicals.
Keywords: endocrine disruptors, human health, chemicals, environment