Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): Their Damage and How To Minimize Your Exposure to Them

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What Do Cancer, Weight Gain, Chronic Fatigue, And Birth Defects Have in Common?

They may all result from endocrine disruption. The scary thing is that we almost constantly come into contact with the dangerous chemicals that cause this disruption.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are a group of extensively-used synthetic agents that have been shown to disrupt the hormonal system. They are found in food containers, in the food itself, in the water supply, in electronics, mattresses, paint, pesticides, furniture, sheetrock, cosmetics, and many other products and materials.

They enter our bodies through breathing, ingesting, and touch, and the hormonal damage they can cascade to numerous sequalae that may take months or years to present, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and damage to the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, metabolic, neurological, and reproductive systems.

In men they have been implicated in “impaired semen quality… testicular cancer,”[1] [2] “precocious puberty, [and] gynecomastia”[3] (“man boobs”). High levels of these chemicals “were associated with fewer normal sperm, [and may contribute] to the otherwise unexplained low semen quality often seen in young men.”[4] A 2017 meta-regression analysis of 185 studies of 42,935 men from 1973 to 2011 found that Western men experienced sperm-count declines of between 50 and 60%.[5] “The rise of EDCs in the environment as well as the simultaneous rise of male reproductive disorders and infertility calls attention to the idea that EDCs may be responsible for the decline in male reproductive health.”[6]

In kids they can trigger early puberty and genital abnormalities. According to the CDC, “Non-genetic risk factors for sexual deformities include… environmental exposure to certain chemicals (endocrine disruptors).”[7] The results of a 2015 study in southern France strongly suggest “that EDCs are a risk factor for hypospadias[8] through occupational and environmental exposure during fetal life.”[9]

Genital abnormalities have become more prevalent. According to a 2017 medical book, “In the past 50 years, hypospadias incidence has doubled along with other male reproductive problems. It is suspected that fetal exposure to endocrine disruptors may have contributed to this increase.”[10] “The prevalence of genital malformation is increasing and the rapid pace of increase suggests that lifestyle factors and exposure to environmental chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties may play a role. Recent prospective studies have established links between” such external factors and genital anomalies.[11]

The damage to fetal testes may affect the fetus’s fertility later in life. Known as Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome, or TDS, it is most often “related to environmental exposures of the fetal testis… [and results from the same] environmental factors [that] also affect the adult endocrine system.” This damage is so pervasive that evidence suggests that it has caused the “spectacular rise in testicular germ cell cancer” and has played a role in population declines in Europe, Japan, and the United States.[12]

Exposure to EDCs occurs in unexpected ways, such as inhaling dust, contacting contaminated soil, or applying cosmetic UV-protective ointments.[13] [14] People who work with pesticides, fungicides, and industrial chemicals are at particularly high risk for exposure.

EDCs have been shown to be disruptive even in infinitesimal quantities, and some of the damage they cause has been found in animal models to pass on to progeny four generations down the line. According to The Endocrine Society, EDCs constitute “a significant concern to public health.”[15] Eight such endocrine disruptors were detected in 99–100% of pregnant women,[16] which is particularly disconcerting because of the potential for profound, lifelong damage.[17]

 

The Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

 

The most notorious of these chemicals are brominated flame retardants (BFRs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Phthalates, Bisphenol A (BPA), Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), Atrazine, Dioxins, Zeranol, and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

 

BFRs

According to the Endocrine Society, “Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are used in electronics, clothing, and furniture such as sofas and mattresses to reduce flammability. Unfortunately, these chemicals also have been linked to abnormal hormone function in the thyroid, which plays a critical role in fetal and childhood development. Adding to the risk of exposure, BFRs often migrate out of their products over time where they may contaminate household dust and food.”[18]

 

PCBs

Stable, insulating, and non-flammable, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are found in hundreds of products. Although the EPA banned their manufacturing in the United States in 1979, PCBs are still present in insulation, electrical equipment, caulking, oil-based paint, and more. They do not break down easily. Of all chemicals, PCBs have been shown to be most closely linked to neurological disorders.

 

Phthalates

Phthalates are integrated into plastics, offering convenient ways to deliver foods and other products. The cost of this convenience is interference with the production of testosterone. Phthalates leach into foods. They are also released when the plastic containers are microwaved. They are also found in some flooring, wall coverings, medical device such as intravenous bags and tubing, and in perfumes, lotions, cosmetics, varnishes, lacquers and coatings. Many companies have voluntarily removed phthalates from their products and advertise them as “phthalate-free.”

 

BPA

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been shown to impair female fertility. It was banned in children’s products such as baby bottles, but it is still used in many water bottles, plastic containers, and cans for food and beverage. BPA leaches faster from these containers when heated or exposed to sunlight or acidic foods (such as tomatoes). It is one of the highest-volume chemicals produced worldwide.[19] While less known, its analogues, Bisphenol B, F, and S, are also hormonally disruptive and are widely used.[20] [21] In fact, these analogs “have been reported to have similar or even more toxic effect as compared to BPA.”[22]

 

PFASs

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are integrated into cookware, carpets, and textiles for their water repellent properties. They do not break down and continue to accumulate in the environment and in the human body. They are also inserted into firefighting foam, and have been detected in water near manufacturing facilities, military bases, and firefighting training facilities. They are also used by oil companies in drilling and fracking. They have been “linked to cancer and birth defects… [and have been approved by the EPA] despite the agency’s own concerns about toxicity” and have been used in more than 1000 wells over the past 10 years.[23] New research indicates that PFAS are dispersed through the air over long distances. The CDC found widespread exposure to PFAS in the US population.[24]

 

Atrazine

Atrazine is one of the most heavily-used herbicides in the US and in the world. It is applied on everything from Christmas trees to residential lawns and golf courses. It is “associated with birth defects in humans as well as in animals”[25] and has been shown to turn male frogs into females;[26] it has done so at 2.5 parts per billion, below the EPA’s allowed limit in drinking water. It can fall with the rain up to 600 miles from the source.[27]

 

Dioxins

Dioxins are a group of highly-toxic, non-estrogenic endocrine disruptors that paper mills discharge into waterways after their chlorine-bleaching of wood pulp. Dioxins are also released in production of pesticide, and during combustion processes. They mildly contaminate animal feed and the human food supply. Because dioxins accumulate in fatty tissue, consumption of animal fats is considered the primary means of human exposure. Overweight people, in turn, accumulate them in their fatty tissue over a lifetime. Recent data indicate that levels of dioxins in the environment and in human tissue are declining, although this assessment was prepared by different government agencies and has not yet been reconciled.[28]

 

Zeranol

“Zeranol is a non-steroidal anabolic growth promoter with potent estrogenic activity that is widely used as a growth promoter in the US beef industry… Bio-active zeranol metabolites contained in meat produced from cattle after zeranol implantation may be a risk factor for breast cancer.”[29]

 

PBDEs

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is a group of chemical flame retardants used in electronics, mattresses, furniture, carpets and more. They can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin, and they are present in dust particles and in the air.[30] They were shown to alter the reproductive system and thyroid glands of female rats in doses proportionate to those to which humans are exposed.[31] In the US, exposures to PBDEs in household dust accounts for 82% of the overall estimated intake.[32]

 

The Impact on The Very Young

 

The endocrine system consists of glands that secrete hormones and of receptors that detect these hormones and react to them. The two main endocrine glands in humans are the thyroid and the adrenal. These hormones travel throughout the body and act as chemical messengers.

Environmental stimuli affect hormone secretion. Since hormones operate at very small doses (part per billion) hormonal disruption can happen at extremely low-dose exposures. Constant exposure can throw the reproductive and other systems into disarray, and on infants these effects can be profound.

While detrimental to people of all ages, environmental pollutants are of particular concern in the very young because tiny quantities are larger relative to their body mass, and because genital development and fertility are susceptible to chemical contamination.

Pollutants have become ubiquitous over the past half century in all the wrong places. Swedish researchers were the first to report an alarming 60-fold increase in PBDEs in maternal milk over a 25-year period (from 1972 to 1997), which was equivalent to a doubling of the concentration every 5 years.[33]

In Japan, where exposure to PBDEs is lower than that in the US, PBDEs were found in 99% of breastmilk samples. There was no particular correlation with occupation, age, smoking status, alcohol consumption or other variables.[34]

Ingestion and skin absorption of house dust are also major pathways of PBDE exposure in toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults, accounting for 56-77% of the total PBDE intake.[35]

The PBDE concentrations in dust and indoor air are much higher in the US than in Europe, perhaps because of different fire safety standards.[36]

 

Why Are EDCs not Being Banned?

 

In a Scientific Statement of The Endocrine Society citing 485 studies, scientists presented “evidence that endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer, neuroendocrinology, thyroid, metabolism and obesity, and cardiovascular endocrinology.” [37] And some of these effects can pass on to future generations.[38] In animal models the impact of EDCs has been observed four generations later.[39] [40] [41]

It is therefore puzzling that governments don’t ban these substances.

But then, as is often the case, market forces and convenience take on a life of their own.

Many chemicals are effective in what they were created for, rendering them in demand. Even the notorious insecticide DDT, which was banned in the US in 1972, is still in use in many parts of the world because of its agricultural utility and help in controlling malaria.

The harmful effects of EDCs are sometimes called into question by industry as it is hard to establish definite cause-and-effect relationships between them and the conditions they engender.

On a population level, such a link is difficult to establish because people move, conditions on the ground change, and to begin with, multiple compounds are involved in any given contamination, making it hard to implicate one specific toxicant. This connection is easier to observe when sudden, large accidental spills occur, but most contaminations are more insidious.

On a personal level it is hard to ascertain that a given chemical causes a particular disorder because people are exposed to a variety of both known and unknown chemicals, and because of the time lag between exposure and the onset of morbidity.

There are also individual differences in metabolism and body composition, which create variability in the persistence of EDCs in the body. Moreover, they degrade differently in different fluids and tissue of different people. And genetic polymorphisms affect how susceptible individuals are.

EDCs often act through more than one mechanism. Some EDCs have mixed steroidal properties; a single EDC can be both estrogenic and antiandrogenic. EDCs may be broken down or metabolized to generate subproducts with different properties.

When studies are conducted, it can be difficult to extrapolate from animal models to humans because of species differences in reproductive systems, differences in metabolism, and different body burdens.[42]

With no solid proof that a given agent causes a particular condition, the manufacturer of that agent will have a case for its continued production, particularly given the substance’s utility and demand for it.

It is therefore up to the consumer to stay informed and guarded.

 

Food and Hormonal Disruption

 

Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like compounds that are prevalent in plants. While they are strictly considered “xenoestrogens,” or foreign estrogens, their estrogenic activity is far more innocuous and less disruptive than that caused by EDCs.

For instance, lignans are polyphenols that plants use to defend themselves from herbivores, UV irradiation, and wounding.[43] While tremendously healthy, with anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties [44], they are also precursors to phytoestrogen. They are found in berries, seeds, grains, nuts, fruits, and cruciferous vegetables, and have a mild estrogenic effect when metabolized by intestinal bacteria.

Flavonoids, which have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, are found in most fruits and veggies, and have mild estrogenic effects. [45]

The point is that phytohormones should not deter people from consuming plants. Prolonged consumption of large quantities of a single fruit or vegetable is probably not advisable. But variety is excellent, not just for eliminating any potential hormonal issue, but also for the variegated vitamins and minerals that a rainbow of fruits and veggies can supply, and which the body needs. The wider the variety the better, in every respect.

Consumption of soy has been found to exert minor impact on semen quality and reproductive hormones.[46] [47] But then, Daidzein and genistein—the predominant isoflavones (the main phytoestrogen class in soy)—have anticancer properties, and are believed to contribute to lower cancer rates in Asian populations.[48]

The more processed the soy, the lower its isoflavone content. Thus, for instance, in 100g of soy flour there are 150-170mg of isoflavones; in 100g of soy protein isolate the isoflavone content is 91mg; and in soymilk it is between 1 and 3mg.[49]

As of 2008, nearly 25% of infants in the United States were fed a soy formula.[50] Infants on soy were found to have urinary concentrations of genistein and daidzein about 500 times higher than infants on cowmilk formula or breastmilk.[51] While some studies point to adverse effects of soy formulas, like initial breast development in the first two years of life[52] and benign uterine tumors later in life,[53] long-term hormonal effects of soy on humans have been few and inconclusive, with disparate experimental design, reliance on self-reporting, limited sample size, and large time lags from exposure to manifestation.[54] More research is needed in this area.[55]

Other than plants, when it comes to food, the main concerns are the leaching of xenoestrogens from the packaging into the packaged food, as well as the ingestion of hormones from non-organic, non-grassfed dairy products and meats.

 

How To Avoid Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs)

 

Staying Informed

 

First and foremost, stay informed. Consumers can learn the latest by signing up to blogs/newsletters like this one, reading the science sections of major newspapers, subscribing to health newsletters issued by institutions like Harvard, The Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins, and following the social media outlets and podcasts of reputable health organizations and knowledgeable health professionals.

One caveat, though: Some podcasters and medical- and paramedical professionals espouse specific diets or ways of life that contradict each other and cause confusion. While they do present facts, studies and helpful information, they may do so selectively and in a bias toward their respective agendas. It is therefore important to be exposed to a variety of social media sources, and consider what they all agree on.

 

Take Proactive Steps to Minimize Your Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors

 

“There are nearly 85,000 man-made chemicals in the world, many of which people come into contact with every day. Only about one percent of them have been studied for safety; however, 1,000 or more of these chemicals may be EDCs based on their probable endocrine-interfering properties.”[56]

EDCs are everywhere so total avoidance is easier said than done. Nevertheless, while contact may not be completely eliminated, it can be very substantially reduced with the following steps:

  • Organic foods are safer than nonorganic. The latter were likely treated with pesticides (perhaps except for some that are found in local farmers markets, which cannot be checked).
  • High-quality, organic, free-range poultry and grassfed beef are better than most meats served in restaurants and fast-food chains. A business that competes on cost rather than quality is more likely to serve animals that have been treated with hormones and antibiotics, and raised on pesticide-treated feed.
  • Storing food in stainless steel and glass containers instead of plastic will eliminate food contact with EDCs. Even PBA-free plastics have been found to be estrogenically active, some even more than BPA-containing plastics.[57]
  • Fatty foods are of a particular risk of absorbing EDCs from plastic containers, even when not heated.
  • Nonstick pots and pans may leach EDCs. Stainless steel and cast iron are safer materials.
  • When going on vacations, try to avoid perfumed, deodorized rooms.
  • In general, avoiding perfumes and perfumed items is a good idea. The phthalates in those fragrances can disrupt hormones.
  • Clean-label detergents are safer than conventional ones. Another option is mixing vinegar with baking soda and adding filtered water according to the desired concentration to create an all-purpose basic soap.
  • When buying a mattress, specifically search for an organic, nontoxic one.
  • A new piece of furniture may outgas and should be stored in a well-aerated room. Better still, since EDCs can be absorbed through the skin, nontoxic furniture would be best.
  • Nontoxic clothing, made of organic fiber, are better than conventional.
  • Frequent vacuuming, preferably with HEPA filters, will reduce chemical accumulation in dust.
  • Taking off the shoes when entering the house will limit contaminants from the outside.
  • Keeping rooms as aerated as possible will lower EDCs concentrations.
  • Washing hands frequently, particularly before eating, will rinse away chemicals.
  • If there is no way around a plastic container, it is a good idea to avoid microwaving food in it.
  • Pharmaceuticals and EDCs have been found in drinking water.[58] Since EDCs can affect humans even in minute quantities, filtering tap water will eliminate that risk. At Plantraw™, we sprout our almonds in reverse-osmosis water.
  • Cosmetics and lotions often contain EDCs. They are particularly harmful to kids, but they can also affect adults. Plant alternatives, like coconut and jojoba oils, shea and cocoa butters, can offer alternative solutions.
  • When traveling, call ahead of time and ask for your hotel not to deodorize your room. Those deodorizers contain phthalates.
  • Before buying or renting a house, research the area. A house can be situated downwind or downstream from a (previous) source of pollution. Historical town and county records will reveal whether a nearby site was used as a factory, a gas station, or a laundromat. Such uses are examples of possible polluters. Chemicals from such facilities can have very long half-lives.

 

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

 

Endocrine disruption often takes the form of estrogen dominance, where foreign estrogen, or “xenoestrogen,” acts as estrogen within the human body, resulting in excessive amount of this hormone, a condition known as, “estrogen dominance.”

Extra weight in and of itself induces estrogen dominance because xenoestrogen gets stored in adipose (fat) tissue. Estrogen dominance, in turn, can induce further weight gain.

A healthy lifestyle, including consumption of mainly plant-based wholesome foods, regular exercise, social interaction, good sleep, and stress avoidance, will help in weight management, thus removing one of the drivers of estrogen dominance.

Healthy living also improves gut health. Gut microbiota, in turn, play an important role in maintaining a healthy hormonal balance.[59]

 

Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, and brussels sprouts contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol which the body converts into Diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM was found to help eliminate estrogen in patients with Thyroid Proliferative Disease (TPD)[60] and lower the risk of breast cancer[61] among other benefits.

Lower estrogen levels help lower weight (while improving libido and mood).

Flaxseeds and broccoli sprouts can also help with estrogen regulation (our newest product, Cocoa-Paste Truffles Super Bites, incorporates broccoli sprouts, and every flavor of our Raw Crisps™ crackers contains flaxseed).

Low testosterone in both women and men (which can be caused by phthalates) can lead to anxiety, depression, low energy levels, and worse. High intensity short exercises can improve testosterone levels and thereby improve hormonal balance.

In men, testosterone is produced in the testes during deep sleep. This is just one of many reasons for the importance of good sleep.

Stress is supposed to be a temporary condition, induced by a sudden danger, like a predator. Facing that, the body naturally releases cortisol to help mobilize all sources to fight or flee. Cortisol limits systems that are not essential at that moment, like reproduction, growth and digestion. When stress is chronic this hormonal reaction goes awry, disrupting most biological processes. This may lead to weight gain, heart issues, memory loss, depression, and more.[62]

Sound sleep, good nutrition, social interaction, exercise, and low stress will work in synergy, with one reinforcing the other, engendering protection not only from endocrine disruptors but also from other environmental assaults and internal challenges. They are great all around for a long healthy life.

 

[1] Nordkap, Loa et al. “Regional differences and temporal trends in male reproductive health disorders: semen quality may be a sensitive marker of environmental exposures.” Molecular and cellular endocrinology vol. 355,2 (2012): 221-30. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2011.05.048

[2] Sharma, Aditi et al. “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and male reproductive health.” Reproductive medicine and biology vol. 19,3 243-253. 14 Apr. 2020, doi:10.1002/rmb2.12326

[3] Kim, A-Ru et al. “Detection of Nonylphenol with a Gold-Nanoparticle-Based Small-Molecule Sensing System Using an ssDNA Aptamer.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 21,1 208. 27 Dec. 2019, doi:10.3390/ijms21010208

[4] Joensen, Ulla Nordström et al. “Do perfluoroalkyl compounds impair human semen quality?.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 117,6 (2009): 923-7. doi:10.1289/ehp.0800517

[5] Levine, Hagai et al. “Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis.” Human reproduction update vol. 23,6 (2017): 646-659. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx022

[6] Rehman, Saba et al. “Endocrine disrupting chemicals and impact on male reproductive health.” Translational andrology and urology vol. 7,3 (2018): 490-503. doi:10.21037/tau.2018.05.17

[7] https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/surveillancemanual/chapters/chapter-4/chapter4-8.html

[8] A type of male genital malformation in which the urethra is not located at the tip of the penis but under it.

[9] Kalfa, et al., “Is Hypospadias Associated with Prenatal Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors? A French Collaborative Controlled Study of a Cohort of 300 Consecutive Children Without Genetic Defect.” European Urology,

Vol. 68, 6 (2015): 1023-1030. doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2015.05.008

[10] Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine: Gender in the Genomic Era, by Marianne J. Legato, Third ed., Academic Press, 2017, pp. 77–90.

[11] Main, Katharina M., et al. “Genital Anomalies in Boys and the Environment.” Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol. 24, no. 2, 2010, pp. 279–289., doi:10.1016/j.beem.2009.10.003.

[12] Skakkebaek, Niels E et al. “Male Reproductive Disorders and Fertility Trends: Influences of Environment and Genetic Susceptibility.” Physiological reviews vol. 96,1 (2016): 55-97. doi:10.1152/physrev.00017.2015

[13] Schlumpf, Margret et al. “Endocrine activity and developmental toxicity of cosmetic UV filters--an update.” Toxicology vol. 205,1-2 (2004): 113-22. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2004.06.043

[14] Hofkamp, Luke et al. “Region-specific growth effects in the developing rat prostate following fetal exposure to estrogenic ultraviolet filters.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 116,7 (2008): 867-72. doi:10.1289/ehp.10983

[15] Diamanti-Kandarakis, Evanthia et al. “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: an Endocrine Society scientific statement.” Endocrine reviews vol. 30,4 (2009): 293-342. doi:10.1210/er.2009-0002

[16] Woodruff, Tracey J et al. “Environmental chemicals in pregnant women in the United States: NHANES 2003-2004.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 119,6 (2011): 878-85. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002727

[17] Sheehan, D M et al. “No threshold dose for estradiol-induced sex reversal of turtle embryos: how little is too much?.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 107,2 (1999): 155-9. doi:10.1289/ehp.99107155

[18] https://www.endocrine.org/topics/edc/what-edcs-are/common-edcs

[19] vom Saal, Frederick S, and Claude Hughes. “An extensive new literature concerning low-dose effects of bisphenol A shows the need for a new risk assessment.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 113,8 (2005): 926-33. doi:10.1289/ehp.7713

[20] Ullah, Asad et al. “Impact of low-dose chronic exposure to bisphenol A and its analogue bisphenol B, bisphenol F and bisphenol S on hypothalamo-pituitary-testicular activities in adult rats: A focus on the possible hormonal mode of action.” Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association vol. 121 (2018): 24-36. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2018.08.024

[21] Usman, Afia et al. “Occurrence, toxicity and endocrine disrupting potential of Bisphenol-B and Bisphenol-F: A mini-review.” Toxicology letters vol. 312 (2019): 222-227. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2019.05.018

[22] Ullah, A et al. “Prenatal BPA and its analogs BPB, BPF, and BPS exposure and reproductive axis function in the male offspring of Sprague Dawley rats.” Human & experimental toxicology vol. 38,12 (2019): 1344-1365. doi:10.1177/0960327119862335

[23] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/climate/epa-pfas-fracking-forever-chemicals.html

[24] https://www.endocrine.org/topics/edc/what-edcs-are/common-edcs/pfas

[25] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/02/10/a-valuable-reputation

[26] https://news.berkeley.edu/2010/03/01/frogs/

[27] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/common-herbicide-turns-male-frogs-into-females/?print=true

[28] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221714/

[29] Zhong, Saiyi et al. “Serum derived from zeranol-implanted ACI rats promotes the growth of human breast cancer cells in vitro.” Anticancer research vol. 31,2 (2011): 481-6.

[30] Johnson-Restrepo, Boris, and Kurunthachalam Kannan. “An assessment of sources and pathways of human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the United States.” Chemosphere vol. 76,4 (2009): 542-8. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.02.068

[31] Talsness, Chris E et al. “In utero and lactational exposures to low doses of polybrominated diphenyl ether-47 alter the reproductive system and thyroid gland of female rat offspring.” Environmental health perspectives vol. 116,3 (2008): 308-14. doi:10.1289/ehp.10536

[32] Lorber, Matthew. “Exposure of Americans to polybrominated diphenyl ethers.” Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology vol. 18,1 (2008): 2-19. doi:10.1038/sj.jes.7500572

[33] Meironyté, D et al. “Analysis of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Swedish human milk. A time-related trend study, 1972-1997.” Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part A vol. 58,6 (1999): 329-41. doi:10.1080/009841099157197

[34] Eslami, Bita et al. “Large-scale evaluation of the current level of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in breast milk from 13 regions of Japan.” Chemosphere vol. 63,4 (2006): 554-61. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.09.067

[35] Johnson-Restrepo, Boris, and Kurunthachalam Kannan. “An assessment of sources and pathways of human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the United States.” Chemosphere vol. 76,4 (2009): 542-8. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.02.068

[36] Frederiksen, Marie et al. “Human internal and external exposure to PBDEs--a review of levels and sources.” International journal of hygiene and environmental health vol. 212,2 (2009): 109-34. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2008.04.005

[37] Diamanti-Kandarakis, Evanthia et al. “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: an Endocrine Society scientific statement.” Endocrine reviews vol. 30,4 (2009): 293-342. doi:10.1210/er.2009-0002

[38] Ibid.

[39] Anway, Matthew D, and Michael K Skinner. “Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors.” Endocrinology vol. 147,6 Suppl (2006): S43-9. doi:10.1210/en.2005-1058

[40] Anway, Matthew D, and Michael K Skinner. “Transgenerational effects of the endocrine disruptor vinclozolin on the prostate transcriptome and adult onset disease.” The Prostate vol. 68,5 (2008): 517-29. doi:10.1002/pros.20724

[41] Anway, Matthew D et al. “Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility.” Science (New York, N.Y.) vol. 308,5727 (2005): 1466-9. doi:10.1126/science.1108190

[42] Notwithstanding these differences, there is substantial conservation of endocrine and reproductive processes across species, and it is certainly reasonable to use animal models to understand human processes; these differences are known and taken into account.

[43] Korkina, L et al. “Plant phenylpropanoids as emerging anti-inflammatory agents.” Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry vol. 11,10 (2011): 823-35. doi:10.2174/138955711796575489

[44] Saleem, Muhammad et al. “An update on bioactive plant lignans.” Natural product reports vol. 22,6 (2005): 696-716. doi:10.1039/b514045p

[45] Paterni, Ilaria et al. “Risks and benefits related to alimentary exposure to xenoestrogens.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition vol. 57,16 (2017): 3384-3404. doi:10.1080/10408398.2015.1126547

[46] Chavarro, Jorge E et al. “Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic.” Human reproduction (Oxford, England) vol. 23,11 (2008): 2584-90. doi:10.1093/humrep/den243

[47] Dillingham, Barbara L et al. “Soy protein isolates of varying isoflavone content exert minor effects on serum reproductive hormones in healthy young men.” The Journal of nutrition vol. 135,3 (2005): 584-91. doi:10.1093/jn/135.3.584

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