In the book, Our Stolen Future, Theo Colborn, Diane Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers have focused the public's attention on a newly discovered threat from synthetic chemicals that was overlooked until only recently. These chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors (EDCs). EDCs include a wide range of synthetic chemicals that are not only found as toxic waste in the natural environment but also as part everyday household items. While the carcinogenic effects of these pollutants have been studied extensively, studies of the EDC effects are just starting to gain validity.
Although some sources of toxic waste may have been reduced and concentrations of these chemicals are declining on the land, in the air and surface waters, significant residues still remain. Some EDCs are persistent organic pollutants that take many years to break down, or degrade, by natural biological processes. They have accumulated in such places as lake and river sediments and in animal and human fat around the world as harmful
substances that put us at risk. Among the most plentiful and active EDCs in the environment are the organochlorines which include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), chlorinated pesticides (DDT, chlordane, lindane, etc.), and dioxins. While the U.S. manufacture of some of these chemicals has been banned, they still persist in the environment.