05 Feb Endocrinology Journal Editor Discusses Effects of Environmental Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
MedicalResearch.com Editor’s Note: Dr. Gore, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Endocrinology, has graciously answered several questions regarding the recent concerns of environmental chemicals linked to both early puberty and early menopause.
Medical Research: How can chemicals found inside the home impact onset of menopause?
Dr. Gore: It is important to clarify that the cause-and-effect relationship between chemicals and menopause is not established. The timing of menopause in women is due to a variety of factors including genetic traits, nutritional status, and general health or chronic disease. Some research on humans, including the recent study by Grindler et al., also suggests that environmental chemicals may contribute to the timing of earlier menopause. Animal models also suggest an advance in the timing of reproductive failure following earlier life exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). . The question of exactly how chemicals may change the timing of menopause is therefore unresolved, but based on animal studies it is likely that the mechanisms include effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on the expression of genes and proteins involved in ovarian function that may lead to premature loss of follicles (eggs). Because the control of reproduction involves the brain and the pituitary gland, as well as the ovary, it is possible that endocrine-disrupting chemicals also impair how these organs regulate reproductive hormones.
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life exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals causes lifelong molecular
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endocrine disruption underlies premature reproductive senescence
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women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero. Am J Epidemiol.
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- Farr SL, Cai J, Savitz DA, Sandler DP, Hoppin JA, Cooper GS.
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Medical Research: What are the primary sources of exposure to these chemicals?
Dr. Gore: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals exposures come from a variety of sources, including plastic containers (e.g. water bottles) and other products, certain foods, personal care products, pesticides, and many others.
Medical Research: Are these potentially harmful chemicals properly screened and regulated?
Dr. Gore: For the most part, the regulatory process is not adequate to identify all chemicals with endocrine-disrupting activity. Much of this process involves standard toxicity testing using relatively high doses and extrapolating downwards to establish a “safe” dose. However, the endocrine system’s hormones can have biological actions in the body at extremely low dosages, and endocrinologists believe that this is also true for EDCs. Therefore, many endocrine-disrupting chemicals may be missed by regulators who do not conduct low-dose testing.
Medical Research: What can we do to limit our exposure to these chemicals?
Dr. Gore: Some chemicals can be avoided by eliminating them from our homes and our refrigerators. If possible, replace processed foods (which can add chemicals to food, and put the food into contact with storage containers made of chemicals) with fresh food. Wash fruit and vegetables to remove residues of pesticides. In your home and yard, avoid chemical pesticides if possible. Keeping a house clean, plugging holes in the kitchen to keep out insects and rodents, and removing sources of food for pests (e.g. garbage) will reduce the need to use pesticides.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrea Gore PhD, Gustavus & Louise Pfeiffer Professor, & University of Texas Austin/Div of Pharmacology/Toxicology (2015). Endocrinology Journal Editor Discusses Effects of Environmental Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals MedicalResearch.com