Endocrine disruption burst onto the public and policy scene in the mid-1990s, propelled by a growing body of science and then galvanized by the publication of “Our Stolen Future”.
All chemically-mediated message systems, are now known to be vulnerable to endocrine disruptors. The study of endocrine disruption began with a focus on compounds capable of mimicking or interfering with estrogen. Now science has revealed disruptors for almost every hormone system that has been studied. This includes other sex steroid hormones, like testosterone and progesterone, as well as thyroid and retinoids.
Normal brain development is heavily influenced by a host of hormonal signaling systems. Thyroid hormones play a major role. The sex steroids (testosterone, estrogen, etc.) contribute to, among other things, sexual differentiate of brain centers, and thereby, to the development of sexual identity and sexual behaviors. Dependent upon natural hormone signals, brain development is therefore vulnerable to endocrine disruption.
A rapidly increasing body of scientific research is revealing mechanisms of action, demonstrating impacts of disrupted development, and exploring links between intelligence, behavior and contamination experienced in the womb.