What are the health effects of the pesticide endosulfan?



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    The U.S. EPA classifies endosulfan as highly acutely toxic by oral exposure, and the World Health Organization classifies it as “Moderately Hazardous.” A growing body of evidence suggests that endosulfan has estrogenic activity and can disrupt hormonally mediated processes. The U.S. EPA considers it to be a potential human endocrine disruptor, and in 2000 Agency for Toxics and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concluded that “endosulfan may potentially cause reproductive toxicity in humans.” Since then, studies of popluations exposed to endosulfan have been published suggesting that endosulfan can increase the risk of autism, delay puberty in boys, and cause birth defects of the male reproductive system. Endosulfan is not considered to be a known or possible carcinogen by the EPA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), or the State of Cailfornia. There is, however, some evidence from laboratory tests that endosulfan could contribute to cancer, particularly of the breast.

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