So-called “endocrine disruptors” are exogenous substances (e.g. contraceptive pills), the structure of which resembles the natural hormones. Therefore, they can interfere with the endocrine system and the central functions of the body. These chemicals can essentially change the interaction of the endocrine system and the metabolism. The effect of these substances intensifies the development of problems in the reproductive system, e.g. infertility.1)
The chemicals that are hormonally active or are suspected of being hormonally active include the following:2)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- Bisphenol A: a starting product in the production of the plastic polycarbonate (PC). PC is used as a special plastic for CDs, plastic babies’ bottles, plastic “greenhouses”, motorcycle helmets. etc.
- Alkylphenols: degradation products of industrial detergents, plastic additives (e.g. in PVC, polyurethane (PU))
- Phthalates (plasticizers): food packaging made from plastic film or cardboard, soft plastics, adhesives in the packaging industry
- TBT (tributyltin): a toxin used to counter snails, mussels and algae when painting ships; stabilizer and catalyst in plastics manufacturing; antimicrobial sportswear
1) Environmental Protection Agency, HPV Chemical Hazard Data Availability Study, www.epa.gov/HPV/pubs/general/hazchem.html. Gesichtet November 7, 2008. 2)Source: greenpeace.org