Industrial-derived endocrine disrupters or endocrine-active chemicals (EACs) have been identified and hypothesized to play a role in human disease. Most of the xeno-EACs which have been characterized bind to the estrogen receptor, aryl hydrocarbon receptor, or androgen receptor. Hazard and risk assessment of xeno-EACs is complicated by several factors which include the following: (i) humans are exposed to relatively high levels of natural EACs compared to xeno-EACs; (ii) very little information on the effects of metabolism, serum, and intracellular binding proteins on target cell uptake of EACs is known; (iii) humans are exposed to EAC mixtures and their interactive effects may be additive, antagonistic, or synergistic and also response- and tissue-specific; and (iv) individual EACs may be agonists/antagonists for more than one endocrine response pathway. Scientific-based hazard and risk assessment of both natural and geno-EACs clearly requires more information on dietary intakes, target organ exposures, mechanisms of action, and interactive effects of mixtures.
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