science on the impacts of
endocrine disruptors on the immune system and disease resistance.
impact of endocrine disruptors on immune system function and disease resistance
is poorly understood... at best we have very preliminary understanding
of what may be going on. There are hints, nonetheless, that this may be
one of the most important and far reaching routes by which endocrine disrupting
chemicals undermine human health. Several studies and reviews (see below)
indicate that contaminants can erode disease resistance in ways that make
people mortally vulnerable to infectious diseases they might otherwise
have been able to resist.
this is the case, then the importance of contaminant effects on health
have been vastly under-estimated, because disease statistics would attribute
the death to the infectious agent, whereas it would not have occurred
without contamination. A new paradigm for studying and preventing many
infectious diseases may emerge, in which you need first to understand
the contamination history and status of the person exposed to an infectious
The phthalate DEHP increases allergic reaction to a mite allergen in mice at levels within the range deemed safe by current EPA standards. The dose-response relationship followed an inverted-U pattern, with an intermediate dose causing larger effects than the highest dose use. This is the first report of non-monotonic response for a phthalate. The results implicate DEHP as a possible causal agent in increasing prevalence of allergic reactions in developed countries. More...
from a study of people exposed to dioxin during the 1976 chemical
plant accident in Seveso, Italy, indicate that the immune suppression
effects of dioxin linger on for decades. More...
study of the causes of frog deformities reveals that pesticides
(atrazine, malathion and esfenvalerate) at very low levels impair
the ability of frogs to resist infection by parasites. The parasite
cysts imbedded in the growing tadpole then cause limb deformities.
on arsenic reveals a new mechanism of endocrine disruption and raises
serious concerns about the potential impacts of very low level arsenic
exposure on the ability of the human immune system to suppress tumor
growth. Arsenic interferes with glucocorticoid's ability to turn
on certain genes important to immune system function and to glucose
metabolism. This new research hints at important new links between
endocrine disruption and cancer as well as to diabetes. More...
Dutch study indicates that PCB and dioxin contamination experienced
during breast feeding weakens exposed infants' immune systems, making
them more vulnerable to common childhood diseases. The work, by
Nynke Weisglas-Kuperus and her colleagues at Sophia Children's Hospital
in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, revealed that by the age of 3 1/2,
children with elevated contaminants were 8 times more likely to
have had chicken pox and 3 times more likely to have had at least
6 ear infections. More...
study of Inuit children in arctic Canada reveals a positive association
between organochlorine exposure and the likelihood of inner ear infections
in the first year of life. OC exposure of these children is a result
of the mother's consumption of contaminated traditional foods. Exposure
occurs in the womb and via lactation. More...
reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and the US National
Cancer Institute reveals an interaction between PCB contamination
and a virus. The virus alone does not appear to raise the risk of
non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Elevated PCBs are associated with a slight
increase in risk (about 3 fold). Together, however, elevated levels
of PCBs and Epstein Barr virus increase the risk of non Hodgkin's
Lymphoma by over 20-fold.
from the Work Session on Chemically-induced Alterations in
the Developing Immune System. A multidisciplinary group of international
experts gathered in February 1995 in Racine, Wisconsin, to evaluate
current science on the immune system effects of chemical contaminants.
The consensus statement was published in Environmental Health Perspectives
[(Suppl 4): 807-808, 1996] along with a collection of scientific papers
presented at the meeting.
March 1996 report from the World Resources
Institute, Robert Repetto and Sanjay Baliga review numerous studies
showing that many pesticides damage the immune system, concluding
"existing evidence of a significant worldwide public health risk justifies
both greater efforts to reduce pesticide exposures and much-expanded
research into pesticide-induced immunosuppression and its health consequences."