Endocrine disruptors are natural or man-made compounds, which tend to interfere with the normal functioning of the body hormones; hence, hampering various body systems such as reproductive, neurological and immune systems in both animals and humans. This may result to obstructing regular functionality of tissues and organs in the body. Some of the substances that may cause endocrine disruption are dioxin, pharmaceuticals, and polychlorinated compounds, which are contained in products that people use everyday such as detergents, flame retardants, plastic bottles, food cans, and cosmetics (Schug, Janesick, Blumberg & Heinde 1). Endocrine disruptors lower fertility; hence, it poses a high risk when organs and neural systems are being formed in the body.
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Dioxins are produced when chlorine-based compounds are combusted or catalyzed in the presence of hydrocarbons. TCDD (2, 3, 7, 8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) is widely known as a type of dioxin carcinogen. Even though production of dioxin is not intentional, chemical processing that apply chlorine to make products such as PVC plastics and smelting operations leads to emission of dioxins into the air. Ah receptors, which are found in the cell, mediate TCDD reactions acting as transcription factor to those of steroid hormone (Perdew 1).
Dioxin and Ah receptor can combine with DNA; in fact, this affects the regulation of genes and m-RNA together with protein synthesis, thereby altering the endocrine systems. Epidemiological results and animal test have revealed dioxin’s toxic effect. Experiments that have been done on animals and human epidemiological studies indicated the Ah receptor presents a lesser binding affinity in humans than in animals. TCDD concentration required in production of corresponding CYP1A1 in lymphocytes and thymocyte proliferation is almost similar for both animals and human tissues (Birnbaum, 90). Airborne dioxin can have a wide coverage of distance, which may ultimately settle in soil, plants, and water. Dioxin is only soluble in compounds such as fats, oils, and organic solvents that evaporate rarely.
Dioxin affects human health in many ways depending on how long one has been exposed to it. When exposed for a shorter time it may lead to skin lesions, which include patchy darkening of the skin and alteration of the liver functions. Contrary, when exposed for a longer time, the immune system, nervous and the endocrine gets impaired. Cancer being one of the killer diseases in the world today can result when animals’ gets chronically exposed to dioxins.
Some of the foods that contain dioxin in less concentration are daily products and beef. The dioxin accumulates in fatty tissues of the body for a period of not less than 7 to 12 years. Afterwards the liver metabolizes the dioxin, but in other animals it is eliminated slowly. Most of the countries in the world watch through their supply of food substances that may contain dioxin. This has led to detection of dioxin; hence, preventing its impact on large scale, which has implications in many countries. Dioxin has been said to be ‘a persistent organic pollutant’ since it’s not reactive with oxygen and cannot be broken down. Release of dioxins from man-made and natural sources exist in the environment and roughly every living creature has been exposed to it. As mention earlier, Cancer includes one of the major adverse health effects that are caused by dioxins. These effects depend on mainly three factors; the level of exposure to the dioxin, extent of exposure and occurrence of getting exposed.
Birnbaum Linda. “Developmental Effects of Dioxins”. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1995 October, 103(7): 89-94, Web.
Perdew, Gary. “Ah receptor binding to its cognate response element is required for dioxin-mediated toxicity”. Toxicol Sci 106 (2008 December): 301–303, Web.
Schug Thaddeus, Janesick Amanda, Blumberg Bruce, and Heindel Jerrold. “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Disease Susceptibility”. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 126. (2011 November):204-15, Web.