On the rumors about the silent spring: review of the scientific evidence linking occupational and environmental pesticide exposure to endocrine disruption health effects

Rumores de uma primavera silenciosa: uma revisão das evidências científicas sobre a associação entre exposição ocupacional e ambiental a pesticidas e distúrbios endócrinos

Occupational exposure to some pesticides, and particularly DBCP and chlordecone, may adversely affect male fertility. However, apart from the therapeutic use of diethylstilbestrol, the threat to human reproduction posed by "endocrine disrupting" environmental contaminants has not been supported by epidemiological evidence thus far. As it concerns other endocrine effects described in experimental animals, only thyroid inhibition following occupational exposure to amitrole and mancozeb has been confirmed in humans. Cancer of the breast, endometrium, ovary, prostate, testis, and thyroid are hormone-dependent, which fostered research on the potential risk associated with occupational and environmental exposure to the so-called endocrine-disrupting pesticides. The most recent studies have ruled out the hypothesis of DDT derivatives as responsible for excess risks of cancer of the reproductive organs. Still, we cannot exclude a role for high level exposure to o,p'-DDE, particularly in post-menopausal ER+ breast cancer. On the other hand, other organochlorine pesticides and triazine herbicides require further investigation for a possible etiologic role in some hormone-dependent cancers.

Reproduction; Antithyroid Agents; Neoplasms; Pesticides; Endocrine Disruptors


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