Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals: What They Are, What They Do, and Where to Find Them


  • Amber Williams
  • Dr. Laura Hake




Spring 2010, natural sciences, biology


Rarely do we consider what the chemicals that go into our consumer products, that are sprayed onto our fruits, or that are released into the air actually do. For example, we assume that those difficult-to-read chemicals on our shampoo bottle labels are safe. However, few of the thousands of chemicals developed each year are thoroughly tested. Forgoing the precautionary principle, we are exposed to many chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCS) can mimic, block, or re-route the hormonal signaling of our bodies. This article addresses what EDCS are, how they act, and how they cause harmful effects, such as reproductive abnormalities, cancers, and behavioral changes. Finally, steps that we as consumers can take to avoid or negate those effects are enumerated.

Author Biography

Amber Williams

Amber Williams is a senoir and a double major in Biology and English. She wrote "Hormone-mimicking Chemicals" with Dr. Laura Hale of the Biology Department for the Ethics and Sustainability Conference held by the Jesuit Institute here at Boston College. She is also a second year Introductory Biology teaching assistant and is working as a Scholar of the College in Dr. Hake's lab investigating how heavy metal cadmium may act as an endocrine disruptor in shrimp.




How to Cite

Williams, A., & Hake, D. L. (2010). Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals: What They Are, What They Do, and Where to Find Them. Elements, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.6017/eurj.v6i1.9024