The term Endocrine Disrupters (EDC) was first coined in 1991 at the Wingspread Conference Centre in Racine, Wisconsin. At this meeting researchers from several different disciplines came to the consensus that “a large number of man-made chemicals” have been released into the environment with the potential to “disrupt” the Endocrine system of humans.
Recently, there has been a surge of research investigating the role of EDC’s in human health and the Endocrine Society stated in 2015 that this expansion of data “removes any doubt that EDC’s are contributing to increased chronic disease burdens”
Studies have demonstrated that EDC’s can act at multiple sites in the hormone pathway including binding to the hormone receptor and acting on proteins that regulate hormone synthesis, metabolism and delivery.
Plastics and Plasticisers
BPA (Bisphenol A) is one of the highest volume chemicals produced world wide and present in many plastics used for food and drink storage. One study Li et al demonstrated association between urinary levels of BPA and sexual function in 427 male workers. They found that increasing urine BPA level was associated with decreased sexual desire, more difficulty having an erection, lower ejaculation strength and lower level of overall satisfaction with sex life.
Phthalate is predominantly used as a plasticiser (a substance added to plastics to modify its properties i.e increase flexibility). It is in many items in common use. There have been many studies looking at the hazards of this chemical with conflicting results.
PCB’s (Polychlorinated biphenyls) In the last decade there have been several human studies evaluating the impact of PCB exposure to semen quality, again with conflicting results.
Conclusion: Currently there is a wealth of animal studies linking sexual dysfunction and reproductive abnormalities to endocrine disrupters, however, more research is needed in humans especially with a focus on the impact of different timed exposures.
(This information was discussed in the December issue of ESSM newsletter.)
Dr Savage feels that having worked in this field for the last 30 years at The Leger Clinic Ltd., he has been alarmed at the number of apparently “healthy” young men who present with classic symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency and lowish levels of Testosterone. No-one seems to have a good explanation of why these people have this problem.
Dr. Savage frequently raises his concerns with some of the worlds top andrologists who he meets at international meetings he attends.
To make an appointment to discuss your concerns about your Testosterone levels please make an appointment at The Leger Clinic Ltd
Dr. Savage will be attending the European Society of Sexual Medicine, 3 day annual meeting in Ljubljana in Slovenia this February and will be reporting back on the latest research, thinking and developments in the field of Sexual Medicine.