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Daily News Blog

15
Aug

Prohibit Ag Pesticide Use on Wildlife Refuges to Protect Biodiversity

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2022) Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and seven other members of the United States Senate are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges in order to protect declining wildlife species and the country’s unique natural resources. The senators sent a letter to FWS Director Martha Williams urging FWS to “expeditiously begin a rulemaking process to phase out the use of agricultural pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges.” The move comes at a time when native wildlife and the ecosystems humans rely upon are under greater threats than ever before from climate change, habitat destruction, and the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides. Join eight U.S. Senators in calling for a phase out of the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges. “The Refuge System was established to provide sanctuary for listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and other wildlife,” wrote the senators in their letter. “The Refuges’ migratory sanctuary and breeding grounds are especially critical for North American birds, as they have faced precipitous population declines; there are 3 billion fewer breeding birds in North America than there . . .

12
Aug

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Contribute to Liver Injury, including Toxic PFAS and Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2022) Gestational (during pregnancy) exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), among others, may increase pediatric (child) liver injury and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) risk, according to a study published in Environmental Health. Past studies associate exposure to EDCs with increased susceptibility to adverse health effects during critical fetal and childhood developmental periods. The World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU), and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify over 55 to 177 chemical compounds as endocrine disruptors, including various household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Because EDCs are ubiquitous because they are found in many products, studies report that these toxic chemical compounds are detectable in infants, children, and pregnant women. Furthermore, pregnant women can readily transfer compounds to the developing fetus through the placenta. Therefore, it is essential to understand the mechanism behind how harmful chemical exposure induces endocrine disruption during critical developmental periods. Researchers note, “Considering the lack of studies on endocrine disruption and pediatric NAFLD, research like this . . .

11
Aug

Acute Kidney Failure Higher Among Farmers: High-Middle-Low Income Countries Suffer Disparities

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2022) A study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health finds that Brazilian agricultural workers are more likely to die from acute kidney failure (AKF) than other acute illnesses. Among the agricultural workers, the prevalence of AKF is higher for individuals at younger ages, who are female, and located in regions south of chemical use, particularly rural areas. However, the AKF mortality rate in urban areas is also increasing, but not as fast as in rural areas. Over six million people in the U.S. have kidney disease (i.e., nephritis [kidney inflammation], nephrotic syndrome (improper protein filtration), and nephrosis). Although many studies find an association between exposure to environmental contaminants like pesticides and chronic kidney disease (CKD), the association between pesticides and acute kidney failure remains unclear. CKD is a risk factor for AKF, and other environmental factors can increase the risk of AKF mortality. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need for comprehensive information regarding co-occurring exposure patterns and disease prevalence that can have global implications. The study notes, “Our findings reinforce the need for more robust epidemiological studies that account for co-exposures and conditions of agricultural work in the . . .

10
Aug

Cover Cropping Techniques Increase Organic Farm Sustainability

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2022) Cover crops added in-between rows of organic corn while they are still growing can provide a range of benefits that improve a farm’s sustainability and lowers its impact on the surrounding environment, according to a study published in Agronomy Journal by scientists at Pennsylvania State University. “The use of cover crops in organic grain systems has many potential benefits,” says study coauthor Sarah Isbell, PhD. “These include improvements in soil quality, increased nutrient retention, prevention of erosion, and suppression of weeds. In organic systems where synthetic inputs are not used, cover crops can be managed to reduce nitrate leaching through soils and supply nitrogen to cash crops.” As demand for organic products continues to increase, and more and more farmers are embracing the organic mantra of “continuous improvement,” research like the present study is critical to the development of new efficiencies and ecologically sustainable practices. Scientists set out to understand the best method for planting cover crops under organic corn grown for grain or silage (fed to cattle and other animals). Determining a planting time for corn cover crops is difficult because corn is often harvested . . .

09
Aug

“Inert” Pesticide Ingredients and Failure to Regulate Raise Dangers for All U.S. Residents

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2022) The most widely used pesticide chemicals in the United States are not listed on product labels, yet pose widespread environmental and public health hazards, according to commentary published this month in Environmental Health Perspectives by two veteran researchers. At issue are adjuvants and so-called “inert” (or “other”) ingredients, chemicals that are added to formulated pesticide products, but do not undergo the same safety reviews as the active ingredient in pesticide products. This donut hole of regulation has permitted, as the commentary shows, millions of pounds of chemicals to be applied in California and throughout the country without proper scientific evaluation of their human health or ecological impact. Researchers first draw a distinction between adjuvant products and inert ingredients in pesticide products. Adjuvants are materials specifically designed to improve the performance of a pesticide spray and are sold separately from formulated pesticide products. Adjuvants are “tank mixed” with a pesticide prior its application. Inert ingredients are any ingredient within a formulated pesticide product that is not designed to prevent, destroy, or repel a pest. Adjuvants and inert ingredients can be the same material – the difference lies in when . . .

08
Aug

Stop Chemical and Service Industry from Restricting Local Authority to Protect Health and Local Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2022) The pesticide industry has selected August as Anti-Democracy Month, as it launches a month-long campaign to undermine local control over pesticides. The National Pest Management Association is encouraging members to lobby members of Congress in August to support H.R. 7266, to “prohibit local regulations relating to the sale, distribution, labeling, application, or use of any pesticide or device” subject to state or federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Beyond Pesticides urges you to make August Preserve Local Democracy Month by participating in actions in support of allowing communities to protect themselves from chemical exposure when state and federal regulation is inadequate. Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 and supporting the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), which contains a provision affirming local authority to restrict pesticides. The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. The Court specifically upheld the authority of local governments to restrict pesticides throughout their jurisdictions under federal pesticide law. In Wisconsin Public Intervenor . . .

05
Aug

U.S. Exportation of Banned and Highly Restricted Pesticides Continues to Inflict Serious Harm

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2022) A terrible saga of environmental injustice — and of grieving couples who wanted children but could not have them — is getting new attention via the BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corporation’s) recent coverage of Di-bromochloropropane (DBCP) exposures and impacts on banana plantation workers in multiple Latin American countries. A significant number of those male workers became sterile, and many charge that their exposures to DBCP in the 1970s was responsible. A 1979 ban on uses of DBCP on the U.S. mainland by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not immediately stop manufacturers from exporting the toxic insecticide to (primarily) Central American countries, nor did it stop U.S. fruit companies operating there from using it. Beyond Pesticides wrote in 2020 about the damaging and what some call unethical practice of allowing corporate export of domestically banned pesticides — which practice continues in the U.S. This BBC investigative report comes on the heels of a piece in The Lancet, United States and United Nations pesticide policies: Environmental violence against the Yaqui indigenous nation, that catalogues the abuse of pesticide export policies on indigenous peoples. The piece finds: “The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is a U.S. . . .

04
Aug

Glyphosate Weed Killer Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2022) An Arizona State University (ASU) study shows that the popular herbicide glyphosate can infiltrate the brain through the blood (blood-brain barrier), increasing neurological disease risk. The blood-brain barrier filters various molecules entering the brain from the circulatory system. However, the permeation of glyphosate molecules elevates the expression of TNFα and the accumulation of soluble beta-amyloid (Aβ) proteins in the brain and has associations with immune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More than 6 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s, and cases are expected to double by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s research has focused heavily on finding genetic causes of the disease, fewer than half of cases are genetic. Thus, researchers are now evaluating how environmental contaminants may increase disease risk. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how chemical accumulation in the body can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “Brain glyphosate correlates with increased TNFα levels, suggesting that exposure to this herbicide may trigger . . .

03
Aug

Scientific Literature Review Again Connects Pesticides and Male Fertility Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2022) A systematic review of scientific studies on pesticides and fertility finds exposure associated with lower semen quality, DNA fragmentation, and chromosomal abnormalities. Published in the journal Andrology, the review is yet another warning from a long string of researchers sounding the alarm over the connection between global fertility and toxic chemical exposure. With data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  indicating roughly 1 in 5 couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and trends continuing to slope downwards, it is critical that contributing factors be identified so that protective changes can be made.   After screening over 1,300 studies, researchers narrowed their review down to 64 papers assessing semen parameters and DNA integrity after pesticide exposure. Each study is analyzed for its design, the pesticide investigated,  the population studied, controls, and reproductive effects determined. Pesticides are evaluated for their impacts to sperm quality and DNA integrity based on their chemical class. Organochlorine insecticides, which are all banned but still persistent in soil, air, water, and food in the United States, include a range of impacts to sperm quality. Higher levels of . . .

02
Aug

U.S. Senators Urge Fish and Wildlife Service to Phase Out Pesticide Use in America’s Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2022) Members of the United States Senate are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges in order to protect declining wildlife species and the country’s unique natural resources. Led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the senators sent a letter to FWS Director Martha Williams urging FWS to “expeditiously begin a rulemaking process to phase out the use of agricultural pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges.” The move comes at a time when native wildlife and the ecosystems humans rely upon are under greater threats than ever before from climate change, habitat destruction, and the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides. “The Refuge System was established to provide sanctuary for listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and other wildlife,” wrote the senators in a letter to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Director Martha Williams. “The Refuges’ migratory sanctuary and breeding grounds are especially critical for North American birds, as they have faced precipitous population declines; there are 3 billion fewer breeding birds in North America than there were in 1970. Unfortunately these birds and other threatened . . .

01
Aug

Take Action: USDA Action Limits Environmental and Scientific Authority on National Organic Board

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2022) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just renewed the charter of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), with changes that threaten the balance on the board created by law. Organic production is successful, with sales topping $63 billion, and still growing. Organic production not only brings healthful food to it consumers, but also reduces the amount of toxic chemicals released to the air, soil, and water. And it helps to reduce climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil. To ensure rigorous oversight of USDA and robust advice and management of the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, the NOSB was created to ensure balanced representation from organic stakeholders, including consumers, conservationists, farmers, a scientist, retailer, and certifier. The growth of the organic brand is attributable in great part to public trust in the standards and processes that govern oversight over the USDA organic label. Tell USDA to classify all NOSB members as “Representatives” to protect the integrity of organic production. Tell Congress to ensure that USDA follows the letter and spirit of the organic law. The success of organic derives from consumer trust in the . . .

29
Jul

With Industry Support, a Republican U.S. Senator Introduces Bill to Codify Easier Access to Ag Pesticides–As If It Wasn’t Easy Enough

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2022) Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to regulate carbon emissions, Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas (R) has filed a bill in the Senate that seeks to limit the agency’s ability to regulate pesticide use. The so-called EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act of 2022 is touted, on Senator Marshall’s website, as “a comprehensive bill to prevent . . . EPA . . . from overregulating essential pesticides that the ag industry heavily depends upon.” In truth — and perversely, given that he is a medical doctor — the bill aims to provide more license to use toxic pesticides that harm human health, the environment broadly, and ecosystems already under assault from toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, habitat destruction, and climate change. Couched in language about “feeding the world,” the bill’s central concern seems to be financial impacts or challenges that farms (a good portion of which, let us remember, are giant, well-resourced agribusinesses) may face because of EPA pesticide regulations. Those regulations, of course, are promulgated by the agency to protect people, organisms, ecosystems, and natural . . .

28
Jul

Two Common-Use Organophosphate Pesticides in Drinking Water Put Nearly Everyone at Cancer Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2022) A report published in Chemosphere finds organophosphate (OP) insecticides readily contaminate drinking water resources, threatening human, animal, and ecological health. OPs have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. These compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants.  Water is the most abundant and crucial chemical compound on earth, essential to survival, and the main component of all living things. Less than three percent of that water is freshwater, and only a fraction of that freshwater is groundwater (30.1%) or surface water (0.3%) readily available for consumption. However, ubiquitous pesticide use threatens to reduce the amount of available freshwater as pesticide runoff, recharge, and improper disposal tends to contaminate adjacent waterways, like rivers, streams, lakes, or underground watersheds. . . .

27
Jul

Monarchs Listed as Endangered by International Safety Group, while U.S. Fails to Take Meaningful Action

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) As monarch butterfly numbers continue to drop throughout the United States, an international conservation group is listing the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered. The move by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) places pressure on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize protections for this rapidly dwindling iconic species. “Today’s Red List update highlights the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometres,” said Bruno Oberle, PhD, IUCN Director General. “To preserve the rich diversity of nature we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems. In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water and sustainable jobs.” Migratory monarch butterflies are under threat from a range of factors harming both their western and eastern populations. Logging and deforestation have destroyed much of their overwintering grounds in Mexico and California. Climate change has subjected the butterflies to temperature anomalies and extremes, severe weather, and wildfires. Herbicide use has eliminated millions of acres of breeding habitat by killing off milkweed . . .

26
Jul

Inspector General Finds Secret EPA Meetings with Industry and Use of Untested Science to Lower Cancer Risk for Dangerous Fumigant

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) Secret meetings with industry, the elevation of unqualified individuals to decision-making roles, using an untested scientific approach, failing to conduct a simple literature review, and an overall absence of public transparency. This is how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conducted its cancer review for the potent fumigant pesticide 1,3-Dichloropropane (1,3-D; brand name: Telone), according to a report from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). EPA’s actions allowed a product once considered to pose a 1 in 10,000 risk of cancer to Americans to increase exposure by 9,000% (from 7.7 ÎĽg/m3 to 690 ÎĽg/m3). “These departures from established standards during the cancer assessment for 1,3-D undermine the EPA’s credibility, as well as public confidence in and the transparency of the Agency’s scientific approaches, in its efforts to prevent unreasonable impacts on human health,” the OIG report states. Yet, even with the agency’s failings laid out in clear view, EPA’s lackluster response to OIG’s corrective actions in this case add insult to its injurious actions against public health. OIG initiated a review of EPA’s cancer assessment for 1,3-D after the submission of multiple complaints. 1,3-D is a highly . . .

25
Jul

Help Stop Collapse of Ocean Life, Part of the Biodiversity Decline Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2022) We have seen pesticide use, habitat destruction, and climate change result in dramatic losses of insect biodiversity and biomass—an “insect apocalypse” that is resulting in cascading impacts on other species that depend on them. A preliminary report on two years of water sampling from sites in the Atlantic Ocean near the United Kingdom (UK), by a team from the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey Foundation (GOES), suggests that plankton populations may have plummeted by 90% since baseline 1940 levels. Just as insects are crucial as the basis of terrestrial ecosystems, plankton are the base of aquatic and marine food chains. The authors of the report conclude, “An environmental catastrophe is unfolding. We believe humanity could adapt to global warming and extreme weather changes. It is our view that humanity will not survive the extinction of most marine plants and animals.” Tell EPA to protect our oceans and our lives. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. Action is needed now to stop the ongoing plankton apocalypse. Researchers blame chemical pollution from pesticides, farm fertilizers, and oil spills in the water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibilities under the Federal . . .

22
Jul

Report Rings Alarm of Plummeting Plankton Population, Threatening Ocean Life and Beyond

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2022) A preliminary report on two years of water sampling from sites in the Atlantic Ocean near the United Kingdom (UK), by a team from the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey Foundation (GOES), suggests that plankton populations may have plummeted by 90% since baseline 1940 levels. Just as insects are crucial as the basis of terrestrial ecosystems, plankton are the base of aquatic and marine food chains. As reported by Scotland’s Sunday Post, the reasons include chemical pollution in the ocean from plastics, synthetic fertilizer runoff, and pharmaceuticals. Beyond Pesticides adds that intensive use of synthetic pesticides also contributes to inhospitable conditions for the variety of plankton in our oceans. The researchers warn, “An environmental catastrophe is unfolding. We believe humanity could adapt to global warming and extreme weather changes. It is our view that humanity will not survive the extinction of most marine plants and animals.” The GOES website asserts, “The story that appeared on the front page of the Sunday Post was based on research and reports from www.GoesFoundation.com. We have just completed the largest Citizen Science project to map microplastic as well plankton productivity across the equatorial . . .

21
Jul

Pesticide Exposure Driving Liver Disease through Hormone Disrupting Mechanisms

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2022) Research published in Scientific Reports finds an association between the increasing emergence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, like organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). It is well-known that traces of legacy (past-use) pesticides, like organochlorines, remain in the environment for decades—possibly centuries, post-final application, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. However, these chemicals have profound adverse impacts on human health, especially on the endocrine system. Obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and elevated liver enzyme resulting from endocrine disruption contribute to NAFLD and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Although some, but not all, manufacturing and use of specific OCPs have declined in the U.S., OCPs remain a global issue, as much of the developing world still reports usage. Considering the lack of studies on OCP-induced endocrine disruption and NAFLD, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to growing endocrine disease incidents.   The study determined that there is an association between OCP exposure and NAFLD using the fatty liver index (FLI), a predictor of lipid (fat) accumulation in the liver. The researcher collected blood serum to measure the concentration of . . .

20
Jul

Post-Hurricane Flood Cleanup in Houston Exposed Residents to Range of Pesticides and Industrial Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2022) Flood cleanup in Houston after Hurricane Harvey increased resident exposure to a range of pesticides and other industrial chemical compounds, according to a study published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by scientists at Oregon State University (OSU). The findings are particularly concerning for a community already subject to some of the highest rates of environmental contamination in the country. “Houston is one of our most industrialized cities,” said study co-author Kim Anderson, PhD, of OSU. “When we look a year after the storm, we see that several neighborhoods that are closer to industrial zones — socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods — had higher concentrations of chemicals right from the get-go, and that was only exacerbated when the hurricane came in.” Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Southern Texas as a category 4 hurricane in 2017. Widespread flooding resulted in damage to chemical plants and oil refineries throughout the city, including 13 of the astounding 41 Superfund sites present in the city of Houston. Clean up and remediation efforts brought concern among residents that chemicals from these industrial sites were being mixed with floodwaters, exposing . . .

19
Jul

Banned Pesticides Still Present in the Environment Linked to Hearing Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2022) Banned pesticides still persistent in the environment pose an increased risk of hearing impairment for U.S. adults, according to research published this month in Scientific Reports. Although regular use of DDT and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) no longer occurs in the United States, exposure to these persistent chemicals can still occur through a range of sources, including air, water, sediment, soil and food. As new science continues to find harmful health effects of older pesticides, advocates say new laws are needed to ensure long term hazards don’t arise from the more than 1,200 active ingredients currently registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with little to no independent scientific oversight. Hearing loss affects nearly 40 million (~15%) American adults over age 18. While it is clear that common causes like aging and noise exposure can result in hearing loss, there has been increasing attention to the role environmental contaminants may be playing in hearing disorders. To explore any potential connection, researchers analyzed data from the long-running U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Blood serum levels of the organochlorine insecticides HCB, p, p’-DDE (a breakdown product of DDT), trans-nonachlor, and . . .

18
Jul

Take Action: Male Fertility Harmed by Pesticides and EPA Dysfunction

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2022) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology adds urgency to the need to eliminate endocrine-disrupting pesticides. The authors find that prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells, and can have multigenerational effects. This adds to the long list of scientific articles showing EPA neglect of the devastating effects of widely used pesticides. Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors that mimic the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; block hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or affect the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to . . .
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