Endocrine Disruption Overview: Are Males at Risk?

  • Theo Colborn
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 545)

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to encourage physicians and others responsible for public health to start thinking outside of the box — to consider what has been learned from wildlife that has contributed considerably toward understanding the etiology of a number of human disorders that have increased significantly over the past 50 years in the developed world. Hopefully this will lead to practitioners’ thinking in broader terms when the etiology of a disorder is not evident. The increased incidence of hypospadias, for instance, would not have been discovered if it had not been for a troubled population of alligators in Lake Apopka, Florida (Guillette et al., 1994). The reproductive success of the alligators had dropped to 10% and many of the males had undersized phalluses. These findings led to a series of laboratory studies that eventually revealed that there are synthetic anti-androgens in the environment that can interfere with male development and function (Kelce et al., 1994; Kelce et al., 1995). Serendipitous discoveries such as this concerning wildlife health have led to intense scrutiny concerning the etiology of a number of other human disorders related to the endocrine system such as abnormal sexual development and neurological and reproductive impairment.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

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  • Theo Colborn

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