What are endocrine disrupting chemicals?
Endocrine disrupters 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.
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. Endocrine disrupting chemicals can affect the body either by increasing or lowering the effect of hormones on normal body functions.
How endocrine disruptors affect the body?
EDC’s 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.
Endocrine disruptors have been proven to affect the concentration of hormones in the bloodstream. This change in levels of hormones in the bloodstream can interfere with hormonal signalling and upset the healthy balance of hormones within the human body.
What do endocrine disruptors do to the body?
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 disruptors 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. Read more about body burden.
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.