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Pure Appl. Chem., 2003, Vol. 75, No. 11-12, pp. 2555-2561

Hormonally active agents and plausible relationships to adverse effects on human health

T. Inoue

Center for Biological Safety and Research, National Institute of Health Sciences, 1-18-1 Kamiyohga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8501, Japan

A hormonally active compound was first identified in the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962, implicating the effect of pesticides such as DDT and the derivatives. Nearly four decades later, the book Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn et al., and other pertinent publications have revisited and broadened the issue regarding a variety of possible chemicals and the area exposed. Translation and publication became available in Japan within the last four years. Since then, Japan joined the member countries involved in the global issue of endocrine disruptors, the "environmental hormone".
Although a significant number of chemicals possessing a hormone-like action have been recognized for many years, and the action of their biological plausibility related to the receptor-mediated effects strongly suggests possible human effects comparable to hormonal changes in wildlife, little is known about evidences or adversities in experimental animals and humans. The most essential key to resolving these dilemmas may be to understand the mechanism of actions (i.e., a possible low-dose issue). In other words, the mechanism at the low-dose effect may be resolved simultaneously by the mechanism of three major questions linked to the low-dose issue; namely, threshold, possible oscillation, and additive and/or synergistic action.