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The ABC of EDC's - Glossary

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs): Endocrine disruptors, also called gender benders, can be natural or man-made substances, and interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system in three ways:

a) By mimicking the action of a naturally-produced hormone;
b) By blocking the receptors in cells receiving the hormones; and
c) By affecting the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones.

Endocrine system: The endocrine system is the set of glands and the hormones they produce, which help guide the development, growth, reproduction and behaviour of animals and humans.

In vitro: In vitro tests methods use cell cultures to determine, eg, whether a sample contains compounds that can bind with a hormone receptor.

In vivo: In vivo tests expose a population of animals, such as fish, to water containing chemicals so that technicians can observe the biological response. (this usually occurs in a lab environment)
Transgenerational: Affecting more than one generation, e.g. through prenatal exposure.

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