Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic and natural chemicals that have the ability to alter or affect the endocrine system in animals and humans. There is increasing global concern that exposures to low levels of these chemicals in the environment may interfere with endocrine systems, resulting in adverse health effects in humans and wildlife.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), European Commission, and others are actively working to develop and validate a system to test chemicals for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system. In June 2007 the U.S. EPA proposed a draft list of 73 pesticides proposed for tier I screening.
Testing chemicals for endocrine disrupting activity may lead to identifying chemicals that have an endocrine disrupting mode of action leading to toxicity. However, toxic substances appear to have multiple modes of action leading to multiple toxic effects. An important consideration in this work is to determine if endocrine disruption takes place at the lowest doses that cause toxicity.
At this time there is no scientific consensus on a list of EDCs. Examples of chemicals that have been implicated as endocrine disruptors include: dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phthalates, bisphenol A, phytoestrogens, atrazine, and DDT. For more information about these chemicals and their potential human health effects:
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) works together with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and others to track global research and scientific developments related to EDCs. Information about emerging research is evaluated, and where appropriate, used to inform the development of health-based advisory levels and/or standards for contaminants in water and air. For more information about EDCs: