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New Study Highlights Hazards On Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

ld, including the Baltic Sea, it has been observed that gastropods develop imposex (the development of a penis in females) when exposed to tributyltin from antifouling paint on ships. This has led to a ban or restricted use in Sweden and other countries. Fish outside paper mills and sewage treatment plants have shown skewed sex ratios and decreased testosterone levels. Epidemiological studies of Swedish fishermen showed an increased low birth weight for infants among mothers with a consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea.

"This is not a new problem. We know that hazardous substances are present in the environment and we know that they are disruptive. But we now need to go a step further and find out how these substances actually affect hormone signalling," says Per-Erik Olsson, associate professor of cellular and developmental biology at Ume University and principal author of the report.

"More research is needed and the report is an appeal to politicians and authorities to support such further action. It is aimed as a basis for a Swedish research programme", he added.

New findings showing reduced sperm quality and increased cancer incidence in humans has sparked off the recent debate. However, there is no Swedish investigation into this, and the trends from the most comparable countries are highly different.

Testicular cancer and prostate cancer in men have been indicated to be increasing in the Nordic countries. The possible involvement of environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals in hormone related cancer is not known, but alterations in hormonal responses or in the metabolism of hormones have not been ruled out as a cause of hormone related cancers. The hypothesis that exposure to hormonally active chemicals would promote human breast cancer also remains to be verified.

It is uncertain to which extent humans and wildlife are exposed to levels high enough to cause adverse health effects. In Sweden, disturbed reproduction has been report
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Contact: Titus Kyrklund
Titus.Kyrklund@environ.se
+46-8-698 11 46
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
14-Sep-1998


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