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EESA10H3 Lecture Notes - Endocrine Disruptor, Biomonitoring, Miscarriage

Environmental Science
Course Code
Jovan Stefanovic

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Lecture 4: Chemical Hazards and Human Health
Chemical Hazards – spread everywhere in all mediums
• Endocrine disruptors
• Chemical body burdens
Both are interconnected with each other. Endocrine problems can be a body burden and vice
Data mostly from animal studies, not much from human exposure. Animals have similar
physiology to humans and scientists are working on it very hard to get better answers.
Endocrine disruptors: organs that produce hormones which help in coordinate the body functions
are disrupted in some way or the other:
1. Direct effects:
-Bind to hormone receptors
-Alter the appearance of some genes which can alter the appearance.
-Changes in the level of produced proteins
2. Indirect effects:
-Altering hormone production
-Altering hormone transport
-Altering hormone metabolism
-Fetus more sensitive than adults
DES (diethylstilbesteol)
• Synthetic estrogen used by physicians to prevent spontaneous abortion (1948-1971)
• Administered for early pregnancy until 35 weeks
• > 1million women took it between 1960-1970
• Daughters whose mothers took DES have increased incidents of:
– Reproductive organ dysfunction
– Abnormal pregnancies
– Reduction in fertility
– Immune system disorders
– Adenocarcinoma: Some type of carcinoma
-- Mothers didn’t suffer as much as the kids did
Endocrine disruptors – Health Implications
• Feminization of males
• Abnormal sexual behavior
• Birth defects
• Altered time to puberty
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