Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, even if they are harmless individually in small doses, can together form a dangerous chemical cocktail. Simultaneous exposure to several different endocrine-disrupting substances may, among other things, result in malformed sexual organs.
Many young men currently have a low sperm count, and more and more boys are born with malformed sexual organs. About five percent of Danish boys are born with hypospadias, where the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis.
A series of comprehensive studies in which pregnant rats were exposed to a cocktail consisting of three testosterone-inhibiting chemicals (the drug flutamide and the pesticides vinclozolin and procymidone). They were administered in doses which were harmless individually. But when all three were applied at once, the male offspring developed female characteristics in the form of retained nipples and severely malformed external sexual organs.
Sixty percent of the male rats were born with hypospadias.
Risk assessments for chemicals are currently performed for only one substance at a time, although people are exposed to many different chemical substances every day.
* Science Daily February 21, 2008