Special Issue "Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals and Estrogenic Activity in the Context of Health Risk Assessment"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Tiziana Schilirò
Guest Editor
Department of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Torino, Piazza Polonia 94, 10126 Torino, Italy
Interests: endocrine disruptors; estrogenic activity; E-screen; gene reporter assay; particulate matter; air pollution; PM10; PM2.5; biomonitoring; effect based monitoring tools; mutagenicity; genotoxicity; comet assay; Ames test; risk assessment; health risk assessment
Dr. Giovanna Di Nardo
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e Biologia dei Sistemi, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10123-Torino, Italy
Dr. Cinzia La Rocca
Guest Editor
Toxicology Unit, Center for Gender-Specific Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
Prof. Dr. Giovanna Cristina Varese
Guest Editor
Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, viale Mattioli, 25, 10125 Torino, Italy
Interests: mycology, microbial interactions, ex situ conservation, biobanks, bioremediation, ecotoxicology, circular economy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Health Organization defines endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as “exogenous substances or mixtures that alter function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently cause adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub) populations”. EDCs are a highly heterogeneous group of natural and synthesized chemicals, which are ubiquitous in the environment. Human exposure to them occurs through different ways, such as inhalation, ingestion of contaminated food and/or water, and dermal contact by the use of personal care products.

EDCs can alter the functions of different natural hormones; they can act directly on hormone receptors as agonists or as antagonists or indirectly interfering with synthesis, transport, metabolism, and excretion of hormones. Exposure to low doses of EDCs is enough to induce effects, and the exposure during specific life time periods can induce permanent adverse effects.

Traditional assessment of EDCs, based on identifying and quantifying individual chemicals, has some limitations: it is performed considering specific known substances and cannot quantify the effect of unknown or unconsidered compounds, and the cumulative effects of a mixture cannot be directly concluded from individual EDC levels as synergistic/antagonistic interactions are not considered. In addition to the chemical assessment, biological monitoring represents a key element. It is performed through effect-based tools which are able to evaluate the total effect induced by numerous, bioavailable chemicals with the same mechanism of action. In particular, the estrogenic activity of environmental or biological samples has been proposed and utilized as an EDC exposure biomarker.

Prof. Tiziana Schilirò
Dr. Giovanna Di Nardo
Dr. Cinzia La Rocca
Prof. Giovanna Cristina Varese
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • EDCs
  • Endocrine-disrupting compounds
  • Estrogenic activity
  • Biomarkers
  • Low-dose exposure
  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Health risk assessment

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Effects of PCB Exposure on Human Stress Hormones in the German HELPcB Surveillance Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4708; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134708 - 30 Jun 2020
Multiple pathological associations are attributed to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Research shows a positive association of PCBs with dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentration but the results on the stress hormone cortisol have been inconsistent so far. This study is the first to examine not only [...] Read more.
Multiple pathological associations are attributed to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Research shows a positive association of PCBs with dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) concentration but the results on the stress hormone cortisol have been inconsistent so far. This study is the first to examine not only the cross-sectional but also the longitudinal effects of PCB exposure on the stress hormones DHEAS and cortisol. Over a period of three years, 112 former employees occupationally exposed to PCBs were tested for their body burden with different types of PCBs (lower and higher chlorinated, dioxin-like and hydroxylated) and for their stress hormone concentration. Highly exposed employees showed a significantly higher risk for higher DHEAS values. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed a positive relationship between the exposure to lower chlorinated PCBs and DHEAS. Mixed models also revealed a significantly positive correlation between lower chlorinated PCBs with DHEAS when controlled for a cross-section. However, an effect for cortisol was not found. These results suggest a causal pathophysiological relationship between PCB exposure and DHEAS concentration, but not with cortisol. The health consequences of high DHEAS concentrations are discussed. Full article
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