Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic chemicals that interfere with the body’s naturally produced hormones. Of the hundreds of thousands of manufactured chemicals, it is estimated that about 1000 may have endocrine-acting properties. There is good reason to suspect that increasing chemical production and use is related to the growing incidence of endocrine-associated pediatric disorders, including male reproductive problems, early female puberty, leukemia, brain cancer, and neurobehavioral disorders. Exposure to EDCs occurs at home, in the office, on the farm, in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. To raise global awareness about EDCs, the Endocrine Society and International POPS Elimination Network (IPEN) joined together to develop a guide for public interest organizations and policymakers to help better understand what EDCs are and the impact EDCs have on human health. Lead author Dr. Andrea Gore and contributor Bjorn Beeler led a discussion of this important new resource for education and action.
Bjorn Beeler is General Manager and International Coordinator at the International POPs Elimination Network (or IPEN). IPEN is a global network of more than 700 NGOs in over 100 countries working to advance international chemical safety policies and implement them at the local and national levels. Mr. Beeler has researched and worked in the international development and policy arena since 1999. Prior to joining IPEN in 2003, Mr. Beeler worked for the international NGO Earth Council (now Earth Council Alliance), within their National Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSD) Program and its global network, based in Costa Rica. He holds a Masters Degree from Lund University’s International Masters in Environmental Science, Sweden.
Andrea C. Gore, PhD, is Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas at Austin and Editor-in-Chief for Endocrinology. Dr. Gore specializes in reproductive neuroendocrinology and the mechanisms by which the brain controls reproductive function. One of the goals of work in the Gore Laboratory is to understand how prenatal exposure to environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) causes molecular epigenetic modifications and cellular changes to the developing hypothalamus and the manifestations of these effects later in life, and transgenerationally. Dr.Gore earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a B.A. in Biology from Princeton University.