A unique database of detailed information on so-called "gender bender" chemicals was launched last week by the UK's Medical Research Council.

The REDIPED database contains detailed information on endocrine disrupter chemicals, including nomenclature, physicochemical properties, uses, production volumes, regulatory status, environmental exposure, degradation, accumulation and ultimate fate in the environment, and biological activity. Paul Harrison, who heads the MRC's Institute for Environment and Health at the University of Leicester, believes this range of information makes the database unique.

Endocrine disrupters such as alkylphenols, dioxins, and phthalates, are high on the environmental agenda, as they continue to be identified everywhere from Swiss sewage sludge to soil samples from the Florida everglades. All the chemicals in the database, not only have the potential to cause developmental and reproductive changes in wildlife but have been linked to problems in humans, such as cancer of the testis, breast and prostrate, altered semen quality...

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