From Montreal, at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Preliminary data indicate that some of the compounds used to keep water from soaking into raincoats, grease from sopping through microwave-popcorn bags, and foods from sticking to cookware have another notable attribute: They can act like estrogen, the primary female-sex hormone.
Recent studies have shown that traces of these ubiquitous coatings, called perfluorinated compounds, regularly turn up in foods and even in human blood.
A research team from Oregon State University in Corvallis injected male and female juvenile trout with any of 36 perfluorinated compounds. Four of the compounds, including a common one known as PFOA, triggered the fish to make vitellogenin, a protein normally produced only by female animals during egg laying. At that time, they have high estrogen concentrations in their bodies.