How do endocrine disruptors affect human health at shallow doses?
A video presentation by Dr. Ana Soto, Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at Tufts University School of Medicine.
We are surrounded by chemicals that can act as endocrine disruptors (EDs). These EDs affect the development and function of mammals’ reproductive, immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, including humans.
But how do they work? How do shallow doses of these chemicals alter cellular mechanisms to produce adverse effects on the organism? What is known about their instrument (s) of action? How can we obtain more information about them? Which ones are most harmful? What regulations exist in different countries to protect human health against these chemicals? This talk addresses these questions based on research conducted in our laboratory over the past 25 years.
Dr. Soto is the only person to receive three-lifetime achievement awards for environmental research in Puerto Rico, including the Ethel Z. Massry Award of the University of Puerto Rico 1998, the 2002 Health & Environment Lifetime Achievement Award given by Clean Water Fund and Clean Air Council, and most recently in 2010 The Environment Award from Environmentalist Foundation (FUNAI).
Dr. Soto has also received several international awards, including The Women’s Leadership Award in Public Interest Environmental Research (WLA-PIER) in 2008; Compromiso Ciudadano de Cultura Ecológica in Spain in 2007; Global Women’s Project Human Rights Heroine Award in 2006; Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe Pioneer Award in 2004, and the prestigious Rachel Carson Prize in 2003.
She is a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Third World, the National Academy of Medicine (Mexico), The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the body’s endocrine system. This can lead to health problems such as infertility, cancer, and diabetes. Endocrine disruptors can also affect development, leading to issues such as ADHD and autism.
They can do this at shallow doses, meaning even tiny amounts can affect them. This makes it challenging to know which chemicals are harmful and safe.
Endocrine = located on or near an organ or structure that produces hormones endocrine disruptor = any substance that interferes with the production, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action, elimination, or response of natural hormones in the body endocrine system = network of organs that produce hormones endocrinologist.
A doctor trained to study how certain diseases affect glands that secrete hormones into your bloodstream estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) gene promoter = DNA sequence located at the start site for RNA transcription. This sequence is responsible for binding transcription factors that activate the gene.
Regulations to protect human health against these chemicals are different in different countries. The US has very few limitations, but the EU does have some.
The speaker is Dr. Ana Soto, Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at Tufts University School of Medicine. Soto is a world-renowned expert on endocrine disruptors and has many awards for her research.
What is the endocrine?
Table of Contents
The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce and secrete hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones control many essential functions in the body, such as growth, development, reproduction, and metabolism.
How do they work?
Endocrine disruptors can work in several ways. They may mimic or block the action of hormones, or they may interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism, or elimination of hormones.
How much endocrine disruptors affect human health?
About one in five patients seeking help from fertility clinics worldwide have problems with infertility. These numbers are much higher than a few decades ago, and endocrine disruption is thought to be partly responsible for this increase.
endocrine disruptors and children’s:
The effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on human health depend upon many factors, such as how much you’re exposed to when during development you’re told, and even your gender. The time during development when you’re most vulnerable to these chemicals is called “the window of susceptibility.”
For example, because girls mature more quickly than boys do, their window of susceptibility closes sooner; therefore, if damage occurs, it may not show up until later in life. Exposure to carcinogens in the womb, in adolescence, or even in utero may cause different types of cancer.
endocrine-disrupting chemicals effects on children development:
“At every single stage of human life, there is a window of susceptibility for endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”
“When it comes to brain development, the male fetus is more vulnerable to endocrine disruptors than female fetuses are. There is evidence that this difference between boys and girls has increased over time, but we are not sure yet why this is happening.”
Which countries have regulations?
The US does not have unnecessary regulations regarding endocrine-disrupting chemicals. This could be because these chemicals were first discovered by scientists studying animals rather than humans or because many people think these chemicals are too difficult to regulate.
Why is this important?
“This is one of the most important public health issues that we’re facing right now.”
“We have enough data to know that serious effects are happening in humans, and we need to do something about it.”
What can you do?
You can help by speaking out about this issue. Tell your friends and family what you’ve learned, write letters to your elected officials, and support organizations that are working to protect human health from endocrine-disrupting chemicals.