What's at risk?

What are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are capable to « disrupt » the hormone system of the human body, which is responsible for the good development and functioning of all vital organs.

More and more top-level scientific studies have shown their dangerous effects on health over the last years, linking them to rising chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesitas, but also hormone-related cancers (breast, prostate...), brain damage and infertility [1].

A large body of evidence has also warned about the high vulnerability of the unborn and the young children to EDCs, with exposure during key development stages leading to long-term damage like a loss of motility, memory or concentration troubles [2].

Chemical cocktails

EDCs are all the more dangerous when acting together at the same time because their effects can "add up" (= "cocktail" effects). Eating fruits and vegetables  sometimes comes to ingesting on average residues from 20 differents ED pesticides, leading to complex chemical "mixtures". 

No "safe" level of exposure

One of the particularities of EDCs is that their effects can be observed at even very low doses [3], which is why there is no such thing as a "safe" level of exposure.

Some examples of ED pesticides and their health effects:

For the ED pesticides found below, the following health effects have been supported by strong scientific evidence from animal testing :

  • Bifenthrin : causing ovulatory dysfunction in females (Liu, 2011).
  • Carbendazim and benomyl : causing adverse effects on the male reproductive systems (decreased fertility observed in rats) (Gray, 1990; Lazzary, 2008; Moffit, 2007; Yu, 2009).
  • Chlorpyrifos-methyl : blocks the activity of the male sex hormones .(Kang, 2004).
  • Mancozeb : a multipotent carcinogen, capable of causing at least 8 different types fo cancer - breast cancer, liver, pancreas, thyroid, etc. (Belpoggi, 2002)
  • Prochloraz : causing a feminisation of male offspring and sexual malformations (Blystone and al., 2007).
Where is it found ? Click here

[1] For more information, see report by Prof. Kortenkamp appointed by the EU : « State-of-the-art assessment of endocrine disruptors », 2012.

[2] For information on transgenerational effects, see :  “Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Ovarian Disease », Eric Nilsson, Ginger Larsen, Mohan Manikkam, Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Marina I. Savenkova, Michael K. Skinner, School of Biological Sciences, Center for Reproductive Biology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States of America.

[3] Vandenberg/Soto/Heindel/VomSaal ao. (Endocrine Reviews, June 2012)