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EDCs detected in specific parts of the brain

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26 September 2017

​For the first time ever Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are detected in the hypothalamus and in the white-matter brain tissue. In an international collaborative study, coordinated by Jana van Vliet – Ostaptchouk of the UMCG, a panel of common EDCs was measured in the human brain. Until now, the measured EDCs have been assumed to be non-persistent and not stored in body tissue. The results of this research were published on the 13th of September in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.


EDC's such as phenols and parabens are widely used in many consumer products, and thus a threat to the health of all population. The results of the study by van Vliet- Ostaptchouk et al. indicate the presence of these compounds in different regions of the brain which may potentially accumulate there. Thus, raising the question about non-persistent nature of these chemicals and, indeed, about the consequences on the health of people.

These findings show that these chemicals actually do infiltrate (and, thus, potentially accumulate) in the hypothalamus - the brain region responsible for the regulation of metabolism - and that these EDC are also able to cross the blood–brain barrier reaching the protected white-matter tissue. At the moment it is not known  to which extent the detected EDCs may disrupt physiological processes and functioning of the brain. According to van Vliet- Ostaptchouk these findings clearly underline the importance of further research into the potentially high and expensive risks that EDCs pose to human health.

This study is part of the research of van Vliet- Ostaptchouk that investigates the impact of exposure to common endocrine disruptors on human health.