Environmental Toxicants May Impact Bone Development

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New research indicates that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can alter key hormone pathways involved in bone formation.

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reviewed the recent discoveries concerning EDCs and bone formation and found considerable evidence that various EDCs were associated with significant damage to bone development and remodeling.

The review was led by University of California (UC) Irvine PhD student Nneamaka Iwobi and Nicole Sparks, PhD, assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at the UC Irvine Program in Public Health. In the study, Iwobi and Sparks defined EDCs as chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system.

By analyzing the current literature on EDCs and bone formation, Iwobi and Sparks aimed to highlight recent data showing the effects of EDCs on bone development and remodeling. They also sought to identify the underlying mechanisms involved in damage to bone health due to EDCs.

According to the study, there is significant evidence suggesting tobacco smoke, air pollution, flame retardants, pesticides, chemicals used in industrial processes, and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as forever chemicals, can lead to considerable damage to bone formation.

The studies in this review primarily focus on epidemiology data and adult bone formation. However, in their conclusion, the authors noted that the human body is most suspectable to environmental toxins during early developmental periods when rapid cell division and bone differentiation occur. “Therefore,” they wrote, “we need an increase in studies investigating the impact of endocrine disruptors on pre-natal and post-natal bone development.”

The authors also concluded that future research should focus on the mechanistic implications of EDC-related hormone disruption and identify EDCs as risk factors for skeletal diseases and disorders.