Many synthetic chemicals found in pesticides and other agricultural products have been linked to a long list of very serious human and animal health problems, including cancers, infertility, thyroid dysfunction, birth defects, behavioural problems, immune system suppression and deformities of the reproductive organs.
Significantly, a number of these artificial chemicals have been found to disrupt the body’s endocrine system. Chemicals or substances that artificially affect the endocrine system are frequently referred to as ‘endocrine disrupting chemicals’ (EDCs).
The endocrine system involves hormone production, regulation and utilisation of all hormones and many chemical messengers in the body. It is responsible for growth, sexual development and many other essential functions. Organs in the endocrine system include thyroid, pituitary, testicles, ovaries, and adrenal glands.
Adults are adversely affected by EDCs but it is the developing organism that is especially vulnerable. Exposure at this sensitive time may cause effects that are not evident until later in life, such as effects on learning ability, behaviour, reproduction and increased susceptibility to cancer and other diseases.