Time trends in the incidences of human health disorders hypothesized to be associated with exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals

In the ongoing debate about the possible human health impact of environmental exposure to Endocrine Disruptors (ED) a frequently used argument is that the incidences of a number of human health disorders have increased over the last decades. It is argued by some scientists that these increasing incidences cannot be the result of changes in the 'genetic pool' and therefore must be of an 'environmental origin'. While 'environmental origin' is a very broad and loosely defined concept, including all risk factors not genetically determined, it is falsely narrowed down to imply exposure to EDs.

It is often assumed that these increasing incidences are real and not artefacts. It is also argued that no other risk factors can be responsible. However, before drawing these conslusions, the validity and comparability of the underlying data must be established.

Researchers of Maastricht University (department of Complex Genetics) conducted a review to describe the trends in incidence of seven human health disorders argued to be associated with exposure to EDs, to assess if these trends are real and if other well established risk factors are potent enough to explain these temporal trends.

The human health disorders reviewed were:

  1. cryptorchidism
  2. hypospadias
  3. male sperm quality
  4. testicular cancer
  5. prostate cancer
  6. breast cancer
  7. autism spectrum disorders (autism and ADHD)

Please read the results in the report below. This project was funded by ECPA (European Crop Protection).

Research group

Prof. Maurice Zeegers
Gerard Swaen, PhD


Gerard Swaen, PhD