Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous, natural and synthetic chemicals that act as mimetic to natural hormones, but some of the EDCs can antagonize the action or modify the synthesis, metabolism, and transport of the endogenous hormones. Exposure to EDCs has been associated with a range of developmental, reproductive, neurological, immune, or metabolic diseases in wildlife. EDCs originate from numerous sources from the air, soil and water including discharges from wastewater treatment plants. The three major endocrine disruption endpoints are estrogenic, androgenic and thyroidal, but EDCs can act via more than one mechanism. Some of the defining features of EDCs are low dose effects and nonmonotonic dose responses, exposure during critical periods of development causing adverse effects and increased susceptibility to delayed effects, additive effects of EDC mixtures and epigenetic and transgenerational effects. A historical perspective on the milestones in understanding impacts of EDCs is catalogued.
Sushil K. Khetan, 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.