Many liposoluble xenobiotics may disturb the endocrine system. According to their origin, these substances may be anthropogenic pollutants (xenoestrogens), plant derived substances (phytoestrogens) and drugs. Their effect is exercised mainly upon the reproductive system, thyroid functions and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Excessive exposition to these substances represents an increased risk for certain diseases (hormone dependent tumors, malformations of the reproductive system, fertility problems, obesity, neuroendocrine disturbances). Phytoestrogens are delivered to the human and animal organism by plant derived food, according to the nutritional habits. The data regarding their effect on the living organisms are controversial, as some have protective effects in some diseases while others are involved in certain pathological processes. The evaluation of the harmful effects of the endocrine disruptors should consider several aspects, like the presence and simulatenous action of multiple substances resulting synergistic effects on the living organisms, or their persistance in the environment inducing long-term effects.
Keywords: Endocrin disruptors, anthropogenic pollutants, phytoestrogens