Endocrine-Disrupting Activity of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Adverse Health Outcomes After Prenatal Exposure in Male Mice

Endocrinology (Early Release, en.2015-1375 October 14, 2015 10.1210/en.2015-1375) / by Susan C. Nagel, et al.

[Examiner.com] A comprehensive study of the chemicals that are actually used in fracking operations in several parts of the United States has found that at least 40 percent of the chemicals can lower sperm count in males, increase testicle size, and increase the testosterone levels in the blood. Dr. Susan C. Nagel of the University of Missouri in Columbia reported the findings in the Oct. 13, 2015, edition of the journal Endocrinology. The levels of the chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals were found to be present in sufficient quantities to have an effect on humans.

The study examined exposure of female mice to the chemicals and the resultant impact on the levels of estrogen, androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid, and thyroid hormones in their offspring. The researchers examined fracking operations in Garfield County, Colorado and selected the chemicals for the test that were actually in use. The female mice were exposed to 23 chemicals used in fracking for a period of 11 days before the mice gave birth. The exposure levels were equivalent to known levels found in waste water from fracking operations.

The study compared the effect of fracking chemicals on the endocrine system of the exposed mice to a group of mice that were not exposed to any of the chemicals. The male mice showed lower sperm counts as adults, larger testes, and higher levels of testosterone in the blood. The researchers compared the level of birth defects, reproductive disorders, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and neurodevelopmental issues that could be attributed to prenatal exposure to fracking chemicals in humans and found a consistent correlation with the mouse study. The potential for endocrine system disruption in humans by fracking chemicals is considered conclusive by the study.


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