An Introduction to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

A Video Discussion With
Laura Vandenberg, Ph.D.

Why are endocrine-disrupting chemicals different from other toxic
exposures? In this video, at,
you will learn about how chemicals interfere with hormone biology and
endocrine systems, and how principles of endocrinology can be applied
to toxic chemical exposures.


There are unique features of endocrinology that need to be considered when evaluating how chemical exposures can cause endocrine disease. In the first video in this series, Laura Vandenberg, PhD, covers a number of issues including the following questions:

Q: What are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)?
A: EDCs are chemicals or chemical mixtures that interfere in some way with
hormone action.

Q: How am I exposed to EDCs?
A: There are many suspected sources of EDC exposures, including consumer products (e.g., cosmetics, food packaging materials) as well as industrial chemicals (e.g., PFAS) and pesticides.

Q: If EDCs are harmful, how come I haven’t noticed effects?
A: The effects of EDC exposures may take months or years to manifest and include complicated conditions with multiple contributing causes such as cancer, diabetes, and reproductive health issues.

Q: How do EDCs act and why are they different from other chemical exposures?
A: Hormones act at extremely low doses and EDCs may have effects at similar dose ranges. Hormones also control the development of organ systems, therefore exposure to EDCs during development may cause irreversible effects. The relationship between hormone levels and effect is also rarely linear, so low doses as well as high doses of EDCs may cause harm.

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