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.
To probe how the compounds might mimic estrogen, the researche