Many chemical substances of natural or anthropogenic origin are suspected or known to be endocrine disruptors, which can influence the endocrine system of life. This observation has led to increased interest on the part of the public and the media, as well as to a steep rise of research activities in the scientific community. New papers and results are presented so fast that it is impossible to give a complete review of this emerging research field. Therefore, this paper tries to give insight into some topics of the great scope of endocrine disruptors in the environment. To get a general idea of the biochemical and biological background, some parts of the endocrine systems of mammalians and nonmammalians are explained. The sections that follow describe important mechanisms of endocrine disruption such as interactions with hormone receptors. Test strategies for anthropogenic chemicals on various organisms are critically reviewed with respect to their problems and gaps concerning endocrine disruptors. The main emphasis of the paper is on the chemical substances suspected or known to be endocrine disruptors. To get a better comprehension of their behavior in the environment, physicochemical data such as water solubility or Kow, as well as information about their use and/or function are reviewed and compared. The main routes of exposure for most chemicals are shortly described, and data about concentrations in the environment (soil/sediment, water) are detailed.
Project Year: 1997, Project Code: 630/26/97
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