Environmental toxicants comprise a number of man-made organic chemicals which may resist metabolism or their metabolites may persist in the environment and accumulate in the food chain. Some of these persistent chemicals are carried over long distances via the atmospheric transport and can have biological effects in fish, wildlife and humans. In this review the relationship between structure of these chemicals, their mode of action and their possible roles in adverse developmental and reproductive processes in humans will be discussed. The focus will be on model polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins, organochlorines, phthalates, a constituent of cigarette smoke (benzo-a-pyrene), synthetic polymers (polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polyfluorinated compounds), and a fungicide (vinclozolin).
Keywords: Pesticides, ovary, testes, receptors, membranes, fertility, steroids, epigenetics
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