Exposure to chemical substances can cause adverse effects on the endocrine system, which is comprised of the organs and glands that secrete hormones (Endocrine Toxicity). Hormones control normal physiological processes, maintaining the body's homeostasis. Compounds that are toxic to the endocrine system may cause diseases such as hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, hypoglycemia, reproductive disorders, and cancer.
Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and DDT have caused a host of toxic effects in wildlife, including impaired reproduction and development. Other endocrine toxicants, such as persistent organochlorine pesticides and dioxins, are being studied for their possible role in promoting hormone-induced cancers (such as breast cancer) and in lowering sperm counts and male fertility.
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