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Endocrine Disrupters

  • By: Andrew Jackson Waskey
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Endocrine disruptors are substances that act like hormones in a body. Examples include DDT, PCBs, and the controversial Bisphenol A. They are hormonally active agents that are exogenous (originate outside of affected organism). If present and active they may affect either cells or an individual organism. In medicine, exogenous factors may be pathogens or therapeutics. These exogenous factors include DNA transfers, viral infections, and carcinogens. When these substances act like hormones, they affect the endocrine system's functions, which are to release hormones that are chemicals used as an informational system in the body. Hormones are analogous to the signals sent through the nervous system but use blood vessels rather than nerve tissue. In humans, the major endocrine system parts include (from head to toe) the ...

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