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Health and Environment Alliance - Endocrine Disrupters

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Endocrine Disrupters

What is the endocrine system?

The European Commission states that the endocrine system is a complex network of glands, hormones and receptors. It provides the key communication and control link between the nervous system and bodily functions such as reproduction, immunity, metabolism and behaviour.

In the ’Community strategy for endocrine disrupters’ it states that: "An endocrine disrupter is an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub)populations"

Health effects that have been identified include:

 Declining sperm counts
 Congenital malformations in children
 Cancer
 Retarded sexual development
 Retarded neurobehavioural development

So what is being done?

The Commission in 2001 produced an Implementing Paper on the Strategy paper of 1999, to look at a range of substances suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife’.

At an international level the International Programme on Chemical Safety IPCS, is a joint programme of three Cooperating Organizations ILO, UNEP and WHO, implementing activities related to chemical safety.

For a good overview of current situation see the study by MRC Institute for Environment and Health (UK).




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