Environmental agencies have identified a growing number of environmental contaminants that have endocrine disrupting activity, and these can become a major public health problem. It is suggested that endocrine disruptors could account for the higher-than-expected increase in the prevalence of some non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, thyroid diseases, and some cancers. Several endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), such as pesticides, bisphenol A, phthalates, dioxins, and phytoestrogens, can interact with the female reproductive system and lead to endocrine disruption. Initially, it was assumed that EDCs exert their effects by binding to hormone receptors and transcription factors, but it is currently known that they may also alter the expression of enzymes involved in the synthesis or catabolism of steroids. Biomonitoring studies have identified these compounds in adults, children, pregnant women, and fetuses. Among the diseases of the female reproductive tract associated with EDCs exposure are the following: precocious puberty, polycystic ovary syndrome, and premature ovarian failure. The different populations of the world are exposed to a great number of chemicals through different routes of infection; despite the various available studies, there is still much doubt regarding the additive effect of a mixture of EDCs with similar mechanisms of action.
Endocrine disruptors; female development; precocious puberty; polycystic ovary syndrome; premature ovarian failure