How Do Chemicals Impact the Endocrine System -
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It Depends on Dose & Duration of Exposure

Many substances and activities can impact the endocrine system – stress, food, and exercise, for example, are among the most common. What scientists typically focus upon with regard to so-called endocrine-active substances is whether exposure can lead to an adverse health effect.

We know that at high doses and durations of exposure, some substances can negatively impact the endocrine system and cause adverse health effects. At lower doses or limited exposures, however, those substances may not impact our health at all.

To stay below ranges of exposure determined to be safe, consumers should read product labels closely and follow directions carefully. Some exposures will produce no response at all, while others may bring about temporary responses to which the body can naturally adjust and maintain its normal function – a similar example is typical exposures to sunlight or soy products. The primary focus should be on preventing over-exposures in order to avoid any potential health risks.

How a chemical interacts with the endocrine system depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Type and duration of the exposure to the chemical,
  • Frequency of exposure,
  • Potency of the substance and,
  • How the body absorbs and eliminates a substance.

Scientists have extensive knowledge, from decades of research on both natural and synthetic chemicals, about how various exposure levels can cause different effects. It is well established in scientific communities that while a particular substance can benefit people at the right dose, the same substance could cause a different response, including harm, at higher doses. A simple example is aspirin. Taking two aspirin will likely eliminate your headache; taking two bottles of aspirin could eliminate your life.

This principle of dose and response applies to all chemicals, natural and synthetic, used in a variety of applications – from cosmetics and personal care products, to pharmaceuticals, to crop protection and industrial manufacturing chemicals, among others.



For more information, visit EndocrineScience.