Sweden has traditionally been in the forefront regarding research and actions against persistent compounds that may enter and accumulate in food chains of ecosystems. A new report, published by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, examines in detail the possible association between observed effects, in both humans and wildlife, and hormone disrupting substances released in the environment. This issue was partly discussed at Dioxin'98, the international conference in Stockholm in August on halogenated organic substances.
Persistent organic pollutants have long been indicated to be potential endocrine disrupting substances (EDSs). The effects of PCB and DDT in various organisms from marine environments, especially in white-tailed sea eagles from the Baltic area, were studied already in the 1960's.
"The debate regarding potential hazards related to hormone disrupting substances has been intense in recent years. There has been a great need among authorities for a solid knowledge basis in this field in order to direct actions against this group of compounds", says Titus Kyrklund of the Research Secretariat at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
"Naturally, there has been a need to cover the specific environmental issues of Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea also with regard to hormone disrupting chemicals", he adds.
Several countries have published findings regarding effects on the estrogen system.The Swedish report, however, focuses on three hormonal systems, the sex hormones (estrogens, androgens and progestins), thyroid hormones and retinoids. Many of these systems may be affected by the same groups of chemicals. Their functions cannot be fully understood in isolation.
EDSs may induce changes in the normal development, cause different degrees of
sex reversal and
affect behaviour. Around the world, numerous incidences have been reported of
humans or wildlife
have been exposed to potential EDSs. For instance, in many parts of the wor
Contact: Titus Kyrklund
+46-8-698 11 46
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency