CDC - National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals

The National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals is a series of ongoing assessments of the U.S. population’s exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring.

Read More Current

25 Years of Endocrine Disruption Research: Past Lessons and Future Directions.

Part of the NIEHS 50th year celebration and the 25th anniversary of the Wingspread Endocrine Disruption Conference (the seminal endocrine disruptor meeting). The meeting included sessions on the history of endocrine disruption, the current state-of-the-science in EDC research, and how to address data gaps and challenges to move the field forward.

Read more 2016

Celebrating 75 years of oestradiol.

"Oestrogens exert important effects on the reproductive as well as many other organ systems in both men and women. The history of the discovery of oestrogens, the mechanisms of their synthesis, and their therapeutic applications are very important components of the fabric of endocrinology.""

Read more 2015

The Endocrine Society's Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals.

This Executive Summary to the Endocrine Society's second Scientific Statement on environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) provides a synthesis of the key points of the complete statement.

Read more 2015

A joint Endocrine Society – IPEN Initiative to Raise Global Awareness About Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

An introduction to endocrine disrupting chemicals (edcs), and a guide for public interest organizations and policy-makers.

Lead Author: Andrea C. Gore, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin; David Crews, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin; Loretta L. Doan, PhD, Endocrine Society; Michele La Merrill, PhD, MPH, University of California at Davis; Heather Patisaul, PhD, North Carolina State University; Heather Patisaul, PhD, North Carolina State University; Ami Zota, ScD, MS, George Washington University

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Cleveland Clinic: Environment and Male Fertility

Researchers point towards environmental and lifestyle conditions as arguably the most significant cause of male infertility and deteriorating semen quality.

Read more 2014

EHP: The Impact of Endocrine Disruption: A Consensus Statement on the State of the Science.

Three strands of evidence fuel concerns over endocrine disruptors: (1) The high incidence and the increasing trends of many endocrine-related disorders in humans; (2) Observations of endocrine-related effects in wildlife populations; (3) The identification of chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties linked to disease outcomes in laboratory studies.

Read more 2013

State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

An assessment of the state of the science of endocrine disruptors prepared by a group of experts for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO.

Read more 2012

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Launch DES Update Campaign.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a drug once prescribed during pregnancy to prevent miscarriages or premature deliveries. In the U.S. an estimated 5 to 10 million persons were exposed to DES from 1938 to 1971, including pregnant women prescribed DES and their children.

Read more 2011

Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor that is active at low, ecologically relevant concentrations.

Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs.

Hayes TB, Khoury V, Narayan A, Nazir M, Park A, Brown T, Adame L, Chan E, Buchholz D, Stueve T, Gallipeau S.

Read more 2010

Decreased Brain Volume in Adults with Childhood Lead Exposure

Childhood lead exposure is associated with region-specific reductions in adult gray matter volume. Affected regions include the portions of the prefrontal cortex and ACC responsible for executive functions, mood regulation, and decision-making. These neuroanatomical findings were more pronounced for males, suggesting that lead-related atrophic changes have a disparate impact across sexes. This analysis suggests that adverse cognitive and behavioral outcomes may be related to lead's effect on brain development producing persistent alterations in structure. Using a simple model, we found that blood lead concentration mediates brain volume and fine motor function.

Kim M Cecil, Christopher J Brubaker, Caleb M Adler, Kim N Dietrich, Mekibib Altaye, John C Egelhoff, Stephanie Wessel, Ilayaraja Elangovan, Richard Hornung, Kelly Jarvis, Bruce P Lanphear. (PLOS)

Read more 2008

Tulane Launches Lead's Urban Legacy web site.

Much of our landscape, especially inner city areas, is contaminated with lead. Lead paint and dust in homes. Lead-contaminated soil in yards and playgrounds. Lead in children's bodies and bones. The major use of lead is in batteries which are recycled, however the urban legacy is the result of a century of adding millions of tons of the heavy metal to paint, gasoline and other everyday products that accumulate in the environment.

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Menstrual and reproductive characteristics of women whose mothers were exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol (DES).

Titus-Ernstoff L, Troisi R and Hatch EE. (2006) Menstrual and reproductive characteristics of women whose mothers were exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Int J Epidemiol 35, 862–868.

Swan, SH et al. Geographic differences in semen quality of fertile US males. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111(4):414-420 (2003).

Read more 2006

Environmental Factors Might Affect Sperm Health.

Researchers find for the first time that human sperm quality varies regionally with lower quality in Midwestern ruralfarming areas and higher quality in urban areas suggesting environmental factors such as pesticides might affect sperm health.

Swan, SH et al. Geographic differences in semen quality of fertile US males. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111(4):414-420 (2003).

Read more 2003

EPA Bans CCA Wood for Home Use.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will ban lumber treated with the wood preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA) for home use in the US by January 1, 2004.

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NIEHS Authorizes Hormone Disruption Research.

The Hormone Disruption Research Act of 2002, a bill to authorize the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct and coordinate a research program on hormone disrupting chemicals, was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 9, 2002, by Rep. Louise Slaughter (New York, Democrat).

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Atrazine in Pesticides.

Frogs exposed during development to low levels of atrazine, the most widely used pesticide in the US, are feminized and hermaphrodites, according to published research.

Hayes, TB, et al. Hermaphroditic, demasculinized frogs after exposure to the herbicide atrazine at low ecologically relevant doses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(8, April 16): 5476-5480 (2002).

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Hayes, TB, K Haston, M Tsui, A Hoang, C Haeffele, and A Vonk. Feminization of male frogs in the wild. Nature, 419, 895-896 (2002).

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DES Affects 3rd Generation.

The synthetic hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES) is shown for the first time to affect a third generation in humans.

Klip, H. et al. Hypospadias in sons of women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero: A cohort study. The Lancet, 359(Mar 30):1102-1107 (2002).

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USGS Finds Human/Animal Drugs in Streams.

A US Geologic Survey (USGS) study found low concentrations of human and animal drugs, natural and synthetic hormones, detergents, plasticizers, insecticides, and fire retardants in most of the 139 stream sites sampled in 30 states during 1999-2000.

Kolpin, DW, et al. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in US streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance. Environmental Science & Technology, 36(6, Mar 15):1202-1211 (2002).

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Velagaleti, R, et al. Impact of current good manufacturing practices and emission regulations and guidances on the discharge of pharmaceutical chemicals into the environment from manufacturing, use, and disposal. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110(3):213-22 (2002).

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Global Assessment of Endocrine Disrupter Research.

A global assessment of endocrine disrupter research finds that some wildlife species suffer adverse health effects from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) warranting concern for human health but strong evidence linking exposure to health problems is missing due to incomplete and insufficient data, understanding, and knowledge. The report recommends international research programs to prioritize and gather information about this global priority issue.

Global Assessment of the State-of-the-Science of Endocrine Disruptors. Report. International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), World Health Organization. 180 pp. 12 August 2002.

Read more 2002

Hormone Altering Elements, First CDC Exposure Report Card.

Female Chinook salmon in wild populations are found to be genetically male and researchers speculate hormone-altering chemicals from land runoff up river or water temperature changes from hydroelectric dams are the two most likely suspects.

Nagler, JJ, J Bouma, GH Thorgaard, and DD Dauble. High incidence of a male-specific genetic marker in phenotypic female chinook salmon from the Columbia River. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109(1):67-69 (2001).

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Persistent Organic Pollutants: A Global Issue, A Global Response.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world. Because they can be transported by wind and water, most POPs generated in one country can and do affect people and wildlife far from where they are used and released.

Read more 2000

Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment.

A National Research Council report (released August 3) published as a book finds that even though there is evidence of adverse effects from exposure to high levels of hormonally active substances, more research is needed to determine the compounds' overall health and ecological effects as well as their impact at low concentrations.

National Research Council. Hormonally active agents in the environment. Washington:National Academy Press. (1999). 560 p

Read more 1999

Fooling with Nature.

National Public Television's FRONTLINE airs the hour-long show Fooling with Nature Tuesday, June 2, 1998. Interviews with scientists, politicians, activists and business officials explore concerns that environmental toxins may be altering endocrine systems in animals and humans.

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Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee on Endocrine Disruptors.

Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) makes final recommendations for a screening program then dissolves after two years of effort.

The Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program is convened by the US Environmental Protection Agency to use EDSTAC's final recommendations from September 1998 to develop a screening program with methods and procedures to detect and characterize endocrine activity of pesticides, commercial chemicals, and environmental contaminants and enabling the agency to gather the information necessary to identify endocrine disruptors and take appropriate regulatory action.

Read more 1998

Estrogens in the Environment Conference (IV).

Estrogens in the Environment IV: Linking Fundamental Knowledge, Risk Assessment, and Public Policy (July 20 - 23). Conference sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Estrogens in the Environment IV: Linking Fundamental Knowledge, Risk Assessment, and Public Policy. Environmental Health Prospectives.

Read more 1997

e.hormone web site launched.

e.hormone web site launched serving as a gateway to the environment and hormones, breaking environmental signaling news, research, and conference information.

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"Our Stolen Future" Published.

Our Stolen Future documents research on endocrine disrupting chemicals.

T. Colborn, D. Dumanoski and J.P. Myers. Our Stolen Future. New York: Penguin Books. (1996).

Read more

Health and Environmental Chemicals.

Male reproductive health has deteriorated in many countries during the last few decades. In the 1990s, declining semen quality has been reported from Belgium, Denmark, France, and Great Britain. The incidence of testicular cancer has increased during the same time incidences of hypospadias and cryptorchidism also appear to be increasing. Similar reproductive problems occur in many wildlife species.

Toppari, J., J. Larsen, P. Christiansen, et. al. Male reproductive health and environmental xenoestrogens. Environ Health Perspect. 1996 Aug; 104(Suppl 4): 741–803.

Read more 1995 1996

Estrogens in the Environment Conference (III).

Estrogens in the Environment III: Global Health Implications. Conference sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Estrogens in the Environment III: Global Health Implications. Environmental Health Prospectives 103(Supplement 7):October. (1995).

Read more 1995

Assault on the Male.

A BBC documentary discussing the possible link between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and reproductive problems observed in both wildlife and humans worldwide.

See Video 1993

Environmental Estrogens & Reproductive Problems.

The incidence of disorders of development of the male reproductive tract has more than doubled in the past 30-50 years while sperm counts have declined by about half. Similar abnormalities occur in the sons of women exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy and can be induced in animals by brief exposure to exogenous oestrogen/DES during pregnancy.

Sharpe, R.M. and N.F. Shakkebaek. Are oestrogens involved in falling sperm counts and disorders of the male reproductive tract? Lancet 341:1392-95 (1993).

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Chemically Induced Alterations in Sexual Development.

Chemically Induced Alterations in Sexual Development: The Wildlife/Human Connection. Wingspread Workshop convened by Theo Colborn. Presented evidence that compounds may have deleterious effects on sexual development in a variety of wildlife species, including reproductive decline in individuals, especially top predators; low population growth; and offspring born with adult features.

Chemically-induced Alterations in Sexual and Functional Development: The Wildlife/Human Connection
. Colborn, T. and C.R. Clement, eds. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Scientific Pub. Co. (1992).

Read more

Some plastic compounds used in a variety of consumer products are shown to be estrogenic in laboratory research.

Soto, A.M., T.M. Lin, H. Justicia, J.W. Wray, and C. Sonneschein. p-Nonylphenol: An estrogenic xenobiotic released from "modified" polystyrene. Environmental Health Perspectives, 92:167-173 (1991).

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Government Regulation of Reproductive Hazards. Report from the 102nd U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.

Proceedings: Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publications Office. (1992).

Read more 1991

Estrogens in the Environment Conference (II).

Conference sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Presentations addressed the effects of environmental estrogens on puberty in young children, ubiquitous nature of the contaminants, their potency and their potential impact on public and environmental health.

Estrogens in the Environment II: Influences on Development
. J.A. McLachlan, ed. New York: Elsevier. (1985).

Read more 1985

DES Causes Developmental Abnormalities in Female Mice.

DES shown to cause developmental abnormalities in female mice.

McLachlan, J.A., R.R. Newbold, and B.C. Bullock. Long-term effects on the female mouse genital tract associated with prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol. Cancer Research, 40:3988-3999 (1980).

Read more 1980

Estrogens in the Environment Conference (I).

Conference sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Inadvertent and advertent hormones were identified and evaluated.

Estrogens in the Environment
. J.A. McLachlan, ed. New York: Elsevier. (1980).

Read more 1979

PCBs Restricted by EPA.

Use and manufacture of PCBs restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Read more 1977

DES Causes Developmental Abnormalities in Male Mice.

McLachlan, J.A., R. Newbold and B. Bullock. Reproductive tract lesions in male mice exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol. Science, 190:991-992 (1975).

Read more

DES Linked to Human Reproductive Problems.

Herbst, A.L., D.C. Poskanzer, S.J. Robboy, L. Fiedlander, and R.E. Scully. Prenatal exposure to stilbestrol: A prospective comparison of exposed female offspring with unexposed controls. New England Journal of Medicine. 292:334-339 (1975).

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Gill, W.B., G.F.B. Schumacher and M. Bibbo. Structural and functional abnormalities in the sex organs of male offspring of mothers treated with diethylstilbestrol (DES). Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 16:147-153 (1976).

Read more 1975-1976

Diethylstilbestrol Adenosis Project (DESAD)

The DESAD began in 1974 at Baylor College of Medicine, Gundersen Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Southern California. The DESAD, the largest DES cohort, included 4,014 DES Daughters and 1,033 unexposed women.

Read more 1974

DDT Use Banned by EPA

In 1972, EPA issued a cancellation order for DDT based on its adverse environmental effects, such as those to wildlife, as well as its potential human health risks. Since then, studies have continued, and a relationship between DDT exposure and reproductive effects in humans is suspected, based on studies in animals. In addition, some animals exposed to DDT in studies developed liver tumors. As a result, today, DDT is classified as a probable human carcinogen by U.S. and international authorities.

Read more 1972

DES Linked to Vaginal Cancer

DES linked to vaginal cancer in daughters whose mothers had taken the drug during the first three months of pregnancy.

Herbst, A., H. Ulfelder, and D. Poskanzer. Adenocarcinoma of the Vagina — Association of Maternal Stilbestrol Therapy with Tumor Appearance in Young Women. New England Journal of Medicine, 284:878-881 (1971).

Read more 1971

Early Hormonal Exposure Health Effects.

Foresbert, J.G. TThe Development of Atypical Epithelium in the Mouse Uterine Cervix and Vaginal Fornix after Neonatal Oestradiol Treatment. Br. J. Exp. Pathol. 50:187-95 (1969).

Read more 1963



DDT Estrogenic in Mammals and Birds.

Bitman, J., H.C. Cecil, S.J. Harris, and G.F. Fries. Estrogenic activity of o,p'-DDT in the mammalian uterus and avian oviduct. Science, 162:371-72 (1968).

Read more 1968

Early Hormonal Exposure Health Effects in Mice.

Extensive epithelial lesions, many resembling those of precancerous or cancerous nature seen after prolonged estrogen treatment, were observed in the vagina in many of the “persistent-estrous” mice.

Takasugi, N. and H.A. Bern. Tissue changes in mice with persistent vaginal cornification induced by early postnatal treatment with estrogen. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 33:855-65 (1964).

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Early Hormonal Exposure Health Effects in Mice.

Study shows that newborn mice receiving estrogen injections developed tissue pathologies (cysts, cancers, lesions). Results indicated that exposure to naturally occurring hormones early in life can produce harmful health effects and pointed to possible early life causes of cancer in adult human populations.

Dunn, T. and A. Green. Cysts of the epididymis, cancer of the cervix, granular cell myoblastoma and other lesions after estrogen injection in newborn mice. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 31:425-38 (1963).

Read more


Silent Spring

"Silent Spring" published. Rachel Carson's book describes health problems observed in wildlife (egg shell thinning, deformaties, population declines) and links them to exposure to pesticides and other synthetic chemicals. Carson, R. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (1962).

Read more 1962

Henrietta Lacks’ ‘Immortal’ Cells

"In 1951, Dr. George Gey at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, created the first immortal human cell line with a tissue sample taken from Henrietta Lacks, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Those cells, called HeLa cells, quickly became invaluable to medical research—though their donor remained a mystery for decades".

Read more 1951

DDT shown to be estrogenic

Burlington, H. and V. Lindeman. Effect of DDT on testes and secondary sex characters of white leghorn cockerels. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 74:48-51 (1950).

Read more 1950

DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was developed as the first of the modern synthetic insecticides

It was initially used with great effect to combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian populations. It also was effective for insect control in crop and livestock production, institutions, homes, and gardens. DDT's quick success as a pesticide and broad use in the United States and other countries led to the development of resistance by many insect pest species.

Read more 1940's

Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen, first prescribed to supplement a pregnant woman’s natural estrogen production.

In the United States, an estimated 5-10 million persons were exposed to DES during 1938-1971, including women who were prescribed DES while pregnant and the female and male children born of these pregnancies.

Read more 1938

First estrogen bioassay developed

The test detected estrogenic activity in biological extracts and determined relative potencies of compounds and mixed natural materials.

Allen, E. and E.A. Doisy. An ovarian hormone: Preliminary report on its localization, extraction and partial purification and action in test animals. Journal of the American Medical Association, 81:819 (1923).

Read more 1923