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Research on Lifetime Health Effects of Early Life Exposures to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can affect a range of hormonal systems in ways that interrupt multiple important systems in the body. Humans are exposed to a range of chemicals at many points during fetal development and early childhood. Studies assessing the cumulative risk of chemicals provide a more realistic assessment of the impact of endocrine disruptors on human health.

child playing with stuffed animal

EPA is studying how such chemical exposures might interact with other environmental stressors, such as stress or a high-fat diet, to better understand the real-life impact of early exposures to EDCs. EPA conducts toxicity tests using cells, such as mouse stem cells or in vitro tests, and animals to

  • help identify chemicals that have effects on biological processes important to early life development and
  • determine which life stages (in utero, infant, etc) are the most vulnerable.

EPA is also gathering exposure information through predictive models and actual measurements (from blood, breast milk, urine, etc)  to:

  • estimate exposures of concern,
  • assess chemical mixtures for potential risks,
  • determine how children get these chemicals in their bodies and
  • how their bodies metabolize them.