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Irrigation Agency


Environmental hormones

Environmental hormones, also known as "endocrine disruptors," are collectively referred to as chemicals in living organisms that act like hormones. Once these foreign "fake" hormones enter an organism or the human body, they have hormonal-like effects or disrupt the balance and function of the original endocrine system, and can then have an adverse effect on the growth, development and reproduction of organisms. 

Sometimes exposure to very low concentrations of environmental hormones can cause huge changes in biochemical and cellular mechanisms, especially embryo formation during pregnancy and the early growth of infants and young children. Harmful effects range from causing infant neurodevelopmental insufficiency, poor immune and reproductive systems, and in severe cases mutagenicity.

Environmental hormones may cause:
  1. Breast cancer and endometrial dysplasia in women.
  2. Male prostate cancer and testicular cancer, abnormal sexual development, immunosuppression and neurobehavioral effects.
  3. Reduce the fertility, hatchability, offspring viability of wildlife.
There are at least 70 known environmental hormones, of which more than 40 are pesticides, including the following items:
  1. Insecticides (such as DDT).
  2. Industrial compounds (such as alkylphenols).
  3. Plasticizers (such as o-xylenes).
  4. Metals (organotin and lead).
  5. By-products of combustion or chemical processes (dioxin substances) etc.
What should be done to protect the health of people and the environment?
  1. Green procurement: give priority to the purchase of products with environmental protection labels.
    -Reduced environmental impact.
    -Raw materials, processes, products etc. used are relatively free of harmful substances (including environmental hormones).
  2. Source reduction and recycling: reduce environmental load and re-entering the food chain or drinking water.
    -Use fewer plastic bags and reduce the use of containers such as for take-out food.
    -Recycle empty bottles, batteries, fluorescent lamps, electronic products.
  3. Use products correctly: Avoid releasing chemicals.
    -Direct heating without plastic wrapping.
    -Use microwaveable containers (more glass or ceramic, less plastic).
    -Do not leave plastic bottled water in the car or trunk for a long time.
  4. Change dietary sources: spread exposure risk.
    -Reduces exposure to environmental hormones from specific foods.
    -Reduce consumption of offal and animal fat.
Reference: Environmental Hormone Education and Advocacy Conference of Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Yuan
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