An updated review of environmental estrogen and androgen mimics and antagonists




Sonnenschein, C.
Soto, A.M.

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Substantial evidence has surfaced on the hormone-like effects of environmental chemicals such as pesticides and industrial chemicals in wildlife and humans. The endocrine and reproductive effects of these chemicals are believed to be due to their ability to: (1) mimic the effect of endogenous hormones, (2) antagonize the effect of endogenous hormones, (3) disrupt the synthesis and metabolism of endogenous hormones, and (4) disrupt the synthesis and metabolism of hormone receptors. The discovery of hormone-like activity of these chemicals occurred long after they were released into the environment. Subsequently, experiments conducted in lab animals demonstrated unambiguously the estrogenic activity of these pesticides. Estrogen mimics are just a class of endocrine disruptors. Recent studies identified antiandrogenic activity in environmental chemicals such as vinclozolin, a fungicide, and DDE, an insecticide. Moreover, a single chemical may produce neurotoxic, estrogenic and antiandrogenic effects. It has been hypothesized that endocrine disruptors may play a role in the decrease in the quantity and quality of human semen in the last 50 years, as well as in the increased incidence of testicular cancer and cryptorchidism in males and breast cancer in both females and males in the industrialized world.


p. 143-150


DDT, chemical pollution, hazardous materials, pesticides, human impact