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Endokrin wirksame Umweltchemikalien in Lebensmitteln

Endocrine active environmental chemicals in foods
: Schäfers, C.; Licht, O.; Bitsch, A.

Gynäkologische Praxis 41 (2016), Nr.2, S.359-371
ISSN: 0341-8677
Fraunhofer IME ()
Fraunhofer ITEM ()

Since two decades, endocrine disruptors, defined as substances adversely affecting human health or wildlife populations, are in the focus of scientific research, public concern and regulatory efforts. Despite their common property concerning interaction with the endocrine system, they can widely differ in their further properties. Depending on their occurrence and use as industrial chemicals, biocides, plant protection products, human and veterinary pharmaceuticals or natural/food products, substances are regulated by different legal frameworks. If regulators have clear and verified evidence for a hazard potential, they can deny or retract the permission for defined uses. Such decisions follow a hazard assessment based on toxicological and ecotoxicological investigations, which increasingly include specific endpoints to indicate endocrine effects. In principle, the label «endocrine disruptor» should be supplied with information on effect strength, which, however, can vary dependent on the test system used. Physicochemical properties resulting in persistence or degradability result in a wide range of exposure. Since pharmaceuticals are protected from rapid degradation due to their design for efficacy, as hormones acting at very low concentrations and permanently being emitted to surface waters via waste water treatment plants or manure application (veterinary pharmaceuticals) to fields and runoff, they are the endocrine disruptors by far most problematic for obligatory aquatic organisms. In contrast, human health may suffer from food intake of natural hormones and endocrine active industrial chemicals, which can be regarded as problematic for young children. Modern generation of drinking water mostly eliminates endocrine active substances. However, many people willingly charge themselves with high amounts of contraceptives, hormone therapeutics or anabolic agents.