Hormone disrupting chemicals are not classical poisons or typical carcinogens. They play by different rules. They defy the linear logic of current testing protocols built on the assumption that higher doses do more damage. For this reason, contrary to our long-held assumption, screening chemicals for cancer risk has not always protected us from kinds of harm.
Some hormonally active chemicals appear to pose little if any risk of cancer. And as Lindeman and Burlington discovered, such chemicals are typically not poisons in the normal sense. Until we recognize this, we will be looking in the wrong places asking the wrong questions, and talking at cross-purposes.
Hormones and their receptors fit together with a “lock and key” mechanism. Under normal conditions a natural hormone binds to its receptor and activates genes in the Nucleus to produce the appropriate biological response. Hormone mimics and blockers can contribute to disruption of cellular activity.
Based on the warnings from wildlife and lab animals, what kinds of problems should we expect? Earlier chapters explored how hormonally active synthetic chemicals can damage the reproductive system, alter the nervous system and brain, and impact the immune system.
Animals contaminated by these chemicals show various behavioural effects, including aberrant mating behaviour and increased parental neglect of nests. Synthetic chemicals can derail the normal expression of sexual characteristics of animals, in some cases masculinising females and feminizing males. Some animal studies indicate that exposure to hormonally active chemicals prenatally or in adulthood increases vulnerability to hormone-responsive cancers, such as malignancies in the breast, prostate, ovary and uterus.
Ref.: Our Stolen Future