Organic Pollutants as Endocrine Disruptors: Organometallics, PAHs, Organochlorine, Organophosphate and Carbamate Insecticides, Phthalates, Dioxins, Phytoestrogens, Alkyl Phenols and Bisphenol A

P.R. Anupama Nair and C.H. Sujatha


8.1 Introduction 261

8.2 Major Organic Pollutants 262

8.2.1 Organochlorine Insecticides 262 Background 262

8.2.2 Organometallic Compounds 266 Organomercury Compounds 267 Organotin Compounds 269

8.2.3 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons 272 Metabolism 272 Environmental Fate 273 Toxicity 274

8.2.4 Organophosphorus and Carbamate Insecticides 274 Background 274 Carbamate Insecticide 277

8.2.5 Phthalates 279 Background 279

8.2.6 Dioxins 281 Metabolism 281 Environmental Fate 282 Toxicity 282

P.R. Anupama Nair(K)

Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry,

Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, Kerala 682 016, India e-mail: [email protected]

C.H. Sujatha

Department of Chemical Oceanography, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin , Kerala 682 016 , India e-mail: [email protected]

E. Lichtfouse et al. (eds.), Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World: Volume 1: Nanotechnology and Health Risk, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-2442-6_8, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

8.2.7 Phytoestrogens 284 Background 284

8.2.8 Alkyl Phenols 287 Metabolism 287 Environmental Fate 288 Toxicity 288

8.2.9 Bisphenol-A 289 Metabolism 290 Environmental Fate 291 Toxicity 291

8.3 Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Their Environmental Impacts 292

8.4 Ecotoxicological Effects of Endocrine Disruptors 295

8.5 Organic Pollutants and Endocrine Disruptors: Future Prospects 295

8.6 Conclusion 297

References 298

Abstract Several natural or anthropogenic substances have endocrine disrupting properties that can modify the endocrine system of living organisms. This has led to increasing concern of the public. Results from animal models, human clinical observations, and epidemiological studies incriminate endocrine disrupting substances as a significant concern to public health. Estimation of health impacts of endocrine disruptors is complicated because some of these chemicals contribute to the occurrence of common diseases of multifactorial etiology such as infertility, cancer and neurobehavioral deficits. The difficulty of assessing public health effects is increased by the fact that people are typically exposed to multiple endocrine disruptors simultaneously.

We review here natural and anthropogenic endocrine disrupting substances occurring in the environment. We discuss the potential effects of exposure to endocrine disruptors in humans and wildlife. This review focus on toxicity, environmental fate, ecological effects and metabolism of organometallic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organochlorine, organophosphate and carbam-ate insecticides, phthalates, dioxins, phytoestrogens, alkyl phenols and bisphenol A. Recent studies show that nonylphenol, bisphenol-A, flavonoids, isoflavonoids and some chlorinated pesticides modify thyroid hormone systems. Androgen mimicking chemicals in the environment can bioaccumulate and evolve through the food web. Exposure to androgenic substances can alter reproduction of all species including humans. Research should be focused on the identification of the life stages and species that are more vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disrupting compounds and how this mechanism of disruption affects populations and communities.

Keywords Organic pollutants • Endocrine disruptors • Imposex • Anti-estrogens

• Androgen antagonists • Egg shell thinning • Breast cancer • Dioxins • Phthalates

• Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons • Organochlorines • Organophosphates

• Phytoestrogens • Organometallic compounds

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