Estrogen Mimics and thier Effect on the Environment.

Essay by brandn03University, Bachelor'sA+, October 2004

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Until now DDT could very well be considered the biggest environmental disaster to date. DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, reportedly induced cancer in animals, induced antiandrogen effects, and impaired Natural Killer cells and T lymphocyte responses (Daniels et al. 2002). But now estrogen mimics confront the environment with a potentially greater catastrophe.

Estrogen mimics, or xenoestrogens (foreign estrogens), are introduced into the body from the environment, mimic the actions of estrogen produced cells or alter the hormone's activity (Davis and Bradlow, 1995). Some of the foreign estrogens can reduce the effects of estrogens. These xenoestrogens are usually found in plant foods such as soy products, cauliflower and broccoli (Davis and Bradlow, 1995).

There is significant evidence that the endocrine systems of fish, wildlife, and humans can be adversely affected by exposure to environmental contaminants, which contain estrogen mimics, such as pesticides, industrial chemicals, and wood-derived sterols. Therefore, Exposure to such chemicals can lead to developmental abnormalities, reproductive failure, altered immune functions, and many other abnormal endocrine functions (Buhler et al.,

2000). Estrogen mimics along with other endocrine-disrupting materials may promote breast cancer. Studies have shown that xenoestrogens and these other endocrine-disrupting materials are also harming men by contributing to reproductive disorders, most notable being testicular cancer (Davis and Bradlow, 1995).

In 1938, British scientist Edward Dodds introduced a chemical that somehow acted in the body like a natural estrogen. This "wonder drug", know as diethylstilbestrol or DES, was almost immediately given to women experiencing problems while giving birth in the belief that insufficient estrogen levels caused miscarriages and premature births. DES was thought to have many other uses as well such as, to treat acne, prostate cancer, and gonorrhea in children. However future studies proved that this so called "wonder drug" made no difference in the outcome of pregnancies. It didn't...