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Global Health

Global Look At Endocrine Disruptors

by Britt E. Erickson
April 21, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 16

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and their potential to cause disease in humans and wildlife are global problems that require more collaboration and data sharing among scientists, government agencies, and countries, concludes a World Health Organization report. The report highlights rising trends in endocrine disorders, including hormone-related cancers, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive problems. But, it says, “health-care systems do not have mechanisms in place to address the contribution of environmental risk factors to these trends.” The report suggests that the most sensitive windows of exposure to endocrine disruptors are during fetal development and puberty. Adverse health effects, however, might not show up until decades later in the exposed individual or in subsequent generations. The same exposures in adults may have no effect, the report says.

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