Hormone disruption by chemicals
Hormone disruption, also known as endocrine disruption, occurs when chemicals in the environment interfere with the body’s normal hormonal systems. These chemicals, called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found in a variety of products, including pesticides, plastics, cleaning products, and personal care items. EDCs mimic natural hormones, such as estrogen and androgen, and can disrupt the body’s normal hormone functions, leading to adverse health effects in humans. EDCs are known to cause hormone disruption in humans of all ages. Some of the most common ways EDCs act on the body are by decreasing fertility, increasing the risk for certain types of cancer, and affecting brain development and behavior. One way that EDCs can cause fertility problems is by disrupting the hormones responsible for reproductive functions. This can lead to early puberty, menstrual irregularities, and infertility. EDCs may also increase the risk of certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, and testicular cancer.