The Impact of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals on Wildlife A Review of the Literature 1985-1998

by Sandy A. Geschwind, Elisa Eiseman, Dalia M. Spektor, Arlene Hudson

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Reports the results of a focused review of the wildlife literature between 1995 and 1998 to address the question of whether chemicals identified as endocrine disruptors are adversely affecting the wildlife population. Although much is known about the harmful effects of these substances in controlled, laboratory environments, ascertaining causality in the field is not as clear-cut. It is also not possible to ascertain whether chemical mixtures are more problematic than single chemicals. There is some evidence to suggest that the developing young are more susceptible to exposure to endocrine disruptors than mature organisms. The authors suggest that (1) future efforts should continue to focus on a consistent definition of endocrine disrupting chemicals and their health impacts; (2) studies should begin to measure or discuss the other potential confounding variables that may contribute to the adverse effects noted; (3) a better assessment chemical concentrations in the environment is needed; and (4) greater efforts should be made to target some of the research for specific species and chemical exposure combinations so that comparisons within species can be made with greater reliability.

This research was sponsored by RAND's Science and Technology Policy Institute.

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