Chemicals which disrupt the hormone system – also known as ‘endocrine disrupting chemicals’ (EDCs) – may be behind significant increases in cancers, diabetes and obesity, falling fertility, and an increased number of neurological development problems in both humans and animals, according to a review of recent scientific literature commissioned by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Chemicals which can potentially disrupt the endocrine system can be found in food, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, household products and cosmetics. In recent decades, there has been a significant growth in many human diseases and disorders including breast and prostate cancer, male infertility and diabetes. Many scientists think that this growth is connected to the rising levels of exposure to mixtures of some chemicals in widespread use.
“Scientific research gathered over the last few decades shows us that endocrine disruption is a real problem, with serious effects on wildlife, and possibly people,” explains EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade. “It would be prudent to take a precautionary approach to many of these chemicals until their effects are more fully understood.”