What are endocrine disrupting chemicals?
These are chemicals that can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system. They are also known as EDC’s.
Once inside the body endocrine disrupting chemicals can interfere with the production and regulation of hormones within the endocrine system by changing the body’s normal levels of hormones.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals can affect the body either by increasing or lowering the effect of hormones on normal body functions. They work in the human body by mimicking or blocking the normal actions of hormones, and by changing the amount of hormone released by the endocrine system.
EDC’s have also been proven to affect the concentration of hormones in the bloodstream, upsetting the healthy balance within the human body.
The endocrine system usually releases hormones into the human body at very low doses. Hormones are tightly regulated by endocrine glands which makes them highly sensitive to any disruption in their normal levels.
Chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties can affect the normal function of endocrine glands even when they are present at very low, almost undetectable levels.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals can accumulate in our bodies over time and even when we’ve reduced or removed the source of exposure. This accumulation is known as body burden which can reduce our body’s natural ability to detox itself.
The endocrine system
The endocrine system is a collection of glands which produce and secrete around 50 different hormones including oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones are important in many key body functions, especially growth, metabolism, and sexual development.