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The current scientific knowledge suggests that numerous anthropogenic substances in the environment potentially disrupt the endocrine system in humans, thereby, causing severe deleterious effects. The mechanisms of action of these chemicals are presently not well understood. A model for the developmental effects of these substances is largely based on diethylstilbestrol, a potent synthetic estrogen, that is known to induce morphological and physiological changes in the reproductive tracts of both men and women. Since several organochlorine pesticides have been identified as estrogenic and/or anti-androgenic, it is imperative to reassess the existing developmental and reproductive toxicity databases of these chemicals. This paper provides a critical review of available toxicological data, and also identifies important research needs for the health risk assessment of pre- and post-natal exposures to endocrine-disrupting organochlorine pesticides.
organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors, biomarkers, health effects, children's risk
National Center for Environmental Assessment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH
Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC