Endocrine Disruption: Chemicals & Effects on Humans & Wildlife.

Published: 2022-12-28
Endocrine Disruption: Chemicals & Effects on Humans & Wildlife.
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Health and Social Care Environment Science
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1320 words
11 min read

Endocrine disruptors can be defined as the group of chemicals that alters the endocrine system of the body of individuals and it is always characterized with a production of neurological, reproductive and it may also affect humans and wildlife as well. Research has it that endocrine disruption is majorly caused by the existence of a vast range of chemicals which may be natural or artificial. Some of the examples include dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls, common pesticides and even plasticizers like bisphenol CITATION lIU09 \l 1033 (Liu, 2009). They may be extracted from the day to day products that humans interact with.

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For example, plasticizers may be found in the plastic bottles, other sources include the metal cans for storing foods, various detergents, the foods taken, cosmetics majorly use by women and even from the pesticides that are bought for the killing of pests. In regard to help in controlling them, the national institute of environmental and health sciences commonly referred to as (NIEHS), are working to support the research team to determine if the endocrine disruptors exposure with the bodies of both animals and humans may really; lead to adverse effects on the behavior for response of the bodies to them. The major effects that may result if the disruptors come into contacts with bodies include the acquisition of cancer, reduced fertility rates in the lives of mammals or all the rearing species and it may also lead to endometriosis. In fact, research has it that, due to their exposure, serious risks may result during postnatal development in the process of neural systems formation.

Introduction and Chemistry of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also known as polyaromatic hydrocarbons while in other countries, it is also regarded as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. They are derived from endocrine disruptor compounds and thus its major use in the nuclear formation. They are called hydrocarbons because they purely contain carbon and hydrogen atoms in their structure when drawn. The name aromatic comes in due to the many numbers of alternating double and single bonds in its structure where there are delocalized pi electrons CITATION Com12 \l 1033 (Comandini, 2012). The most common example is naphthalene

They basically form the carcinogenic substances in large quantity as studies prove. It may be formed by various methods;

The first known method is through the heating of long-chain hydrocarbons such as vegetable oils in the presence of sufficient supply of oxygen in order to provide the compound with enough time to decompose to form carbon dioxide and water molecules. The process may commonly happen in industrial setup for example in the production of fuels where petroleum is cracked to simpler compounds, it may also be applied in vehicles in the engines in the process of internal combustion. in regard to their occurrence, most PAHs occur in mixtures that is; they don't exist in nature as individual compounds.

Aquatic areas are not an exemption suppose sources of PAHs are to be found. In wet environments, they usually happen to exist together with the particles in the sediments form, where they can easily become persistent CITATION Bar98 \l 1033 (Barcelo, 1998). Therefore, there is a big need to need to keep periodic checks on the aquatic systems which are near to the emission sources. Because the compounds are very small in size can easily penetrate, they are normally found to accumulate in large quantity in the bodies with invertebrates which actually use aquatic environments for their habitats. Mussels are just an example of the common invertebrates that acts as a good habitat for this polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.

Structure of the Compound

The structure of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is such that it contains aromatic rings which seem to be condensed. The simplest compound in the aromatic rings contained in it are the benzene rings. The benzene ring structure is contained of six carbon atoms with single hydrogen attached to each atom of the carbon. The aromatic rings are condensed in nature in the compound forming PAHs, this is to say that the aromatic rings are aligned on the same side of the plane. This concept can also be helpful during the determination of the stereochemistry of the hydrocarbon.

Roles of PAHs on Oil Spills

PAHs normally enters the marine environment through oil spills, especially when pollution occurs. Globally, the fluxes of PAH in the marine environments are regulated by microbial degradation or biological pump official. This is the only area where oil spills have got an effect. And the relationship with the PAHsCITATION Pri031 \l 1033 (Prince, 2003). Therefore, to completely advance on the roles of PAHs on oil spills, there arises great need to look into the effects that the oil spills after getting deposited into the marine environments like the rivers, lakes, oceans, seas or dams, cause both to the water and the organisms that use water for habitat purposes.

The one major it plays is the contamination of the water used for domestic purposes. The water, especially in dams or ponds, needs to remain clean as their major use is for domestic purposes such as drinking. Due to continuous accumulation, the effect may be too great that it fails to be neutralized even with the large volume of water. this is just one of the ways that these compounds get into contact with humans' bodies and animals. In humans, it is possible to get it through the water drunk, and animals can also get it in the water where they leave.

Another major effect is that it may lead to suffocation of animals leaving in water and eventually their death. In chemistry, when two molecules of different density, viscosity or solubility are mixed or come into contact, the heavier molecule will settle in the lower layer leaving the lighter molecule in the top. From the standard densities, water has got a very low density and of 1g/cm3, while oil has an average of (0.91 to 0.93) g/cm3, so this means that oil is less dense than water and thus oil will float on top of the water. when this happens, there will be blockage of entry of oxygen in and carob dioxide from the sun, a situation which may cause their deaths.

How PAHs are detected

Research states that PAHs can easily be detected when they are excited by use ultraviolet light CITATION Sch04 \l 1033 (Schmidt, 2004). The research was done to determine the presence of these compounds in the alfalfa plants. This was easy because these compounds contain aromatic rings, they have got the property of showing blue wavelengths when they are subjected to light.

Safety Handling

PAHs have got long term effects upon exposure in the health of humans. Some of the known effects include damage of the liver and kidney, it can also cause redness in the skin and inflammation in the skin CITATION Buz16 \l 1033 (Buzz, 2016).

Structures of various compounds contained Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;



Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Liu, Z. H., Kanjo, Y., & Mizutani, S. (2009). Removal mechanisms for endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in wastewater treatment-physical means, biodegradation, and chemical advanced oxidation: a review. Science of the total environment, 407(2), 731-748.

Comandini, A., Malewicki, T., & Brezinsky, K. (2012). Chemistry of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons formation from phenyl radical pyrolysis and reaction of phenyl and acetylene. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 116(10), 2409-2434.

Barcelo, D., Oubina, A., Salau, J. S., & Perez, S. (1998). Determination of PAHs in river water samples by ELISA. Analytica Chimica Acta, 376(1), 49-53.

Prince, R. C., Garrett, R. M., Bare, R. E., Grossman, M. J., Townsend, T., Suflita, J. M., ... & Lindstrom, J. E. (2003). The roles of photooxidation and biodegradation in long-term weathering of crude and heavy fuel oils. Spill Science & Technology Bulletin, 8(2), 145-156.

Schmidt, H., Ha, N. B., Pfannkuche, J., Amann, H., Kronfeldt, H. D., & Kowalewska, G. (2004). Detection of PAHs in seawater using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Marine pollution bulletin, 49(3), 229-234.

Buss, W., & Masek, O. (2016). High-VOC biochar-effectiveness of post-treatment measures and potential health risks related to handling and storage. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23(19), 19580-19589.

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