Environmental pollutants and other chemicals can affect the human hormone systems. The issue of endocrine (hormonal) impact as an important environmental pollutant has attracted considerable attention in recent years, particularly with regard to estrogenic effect.
Exposure during pregnancy to estrogen-like compounds can affect the children of the next generation and sometimes only be detected in adulthood. It is well known that the treatment of pregnant women with estrogen (diethylstilbestrol, DES) may cause vaginal cancer in their daughters, and that their daughters and sons also may develop genital malformation, problems with female fertility and pregnancy.
Another disease that is clearly increasing is testicular cancer. Europe and North America have seen a steady increase since the 1940s. An increased estrogen exposure at the time of birth has been discussed as one of several possible risk factors. And it is plausible that environmental pollutants also interfere with normal onset of puberty.