Info Sheets

Environmental hormones and
environmental estrogen

Environmental estrogen is the technical term for any of a group of synthetic substances found in the environment that, when absorbed into a person's system, function in a similar wary to estrogen, the generic term for female sex hormones.

In both the male and female bodies, environmental estrogens - also known as environmental hormones - disrupt the normal secretion of hormones and distrub the body'd metabolism, which can have serious consequences, including demage to the reproductive functions.

Environmental estrogens have recently been identified as a possibl cause of endometriosis and breast cancer, two diseases increasingly found among young women. They are also believed to controbute to a reduction in men's sperm counts.

The potential seriousness of the effects of these substances has led to an increasing number of medical experts and scientists from all over the worl to target environmental estrogen in their research.

More than 60 substances, including dioxin, DDT and PCB have been identified as environmental estrogens.

Source: "Technically Speaking ... " Daily Yomiuri, 5 March 1998.

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org