Gender bending compounds that have been shown to feminise male fish and also to lower sperm count in humans are just one example of an endocrine disrupter.
So what are they? Well the first question should be “What is the endocrine system?”. The endocrine system is a system of glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood stream to maintain physiological equilibrium. It also regulates body growth, metabolism and sexual development and function. Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that can interfere or disrupt the endocrine system. Like a tin of Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain, it does exactly what is says on the tin.
But I am afraid there is nowhere to hide from them, they are everywhere. Steps are being taken to reduce our exposure and chemicals that have been shown to have these effects have been banned by many countries. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will deliver current scientific opinion this month on the subject. While we are waiting, we will blog a history on the subject.
Watch this space in the upcoming week…
Read the news about the Scientific opinion on the EFSA website.
Check out Wikipedia for an encyclopedial view on the subject of endocrine disruptors.