Hormonal Chaos; The Scientific And Social Origins Of The Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis / Edition 1

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Overview

In Hormonal Chaos, Sheldon Krimsky traces the emergence of an unorthodox hypothesis that casts new suspicions on a broad range of modern industrial chemicals. At the heart of his story is the "Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis," the assertion that a class of chemicals called "endocrine disruptors" are interfering with the normal functioning of hormones in animals and humans. Krimsky describes how this controversial theory was first elaborated and explores the complex factors that have contributed to its increased legitimacy and continued controversy.

Johns Hopkins University Press

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Environment
This well-written and thoroughly researched book provides an invaluable overview of the controversies surrounding the new hypotheses about the relationships between chemical exposures and human and environmental health. The book al so has much to say about the process of science and how science and scientific theories change as well as providing an example of how to analyze other scientific controversies.

— Mrill Ingram

Issues in Science and Technology

Eminently readable... Few issues have galvanized so many so quickly, and Krimsky has accomplished the difficult task of chronicling the history of this contentious idea without being drawn too far into the fray.

BioScience
Hormonal Chaos is a fascinating and readable account of the environmental endocrine hypothesis.

— Valery Forbes

Chemical and Engineering News
An interesting review of a topic that is even now rocking the foundations of toxicology and risk assessment... This book is relevant to virtually all issues that have global health, economic, and public policy implications.

— Gina M. Solomon

Booklist

A fascinating study of the [environmental endocrine] hypothesis and of the interface between science, media, and policy.

Archives of Sexual Behavior

In Hormonal Chaos, Krimsky lays out a clear and thorough historical analysis of the development of the environmental endocrine hypothesis (sometimes called the endocrine disruption hypothesis), and then examines the larger scientific, political, and social ramifications of it.

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Krimsky has not only successfully narrated the historical roots of the problem but has also exposed the complex social, economic, and political context of modern debates. Perhaps most impressively, Krimsky's account remains balanced and insightful without being polemical.

— Mark Jackson

Environment - Mrill Ingram

This well-written and thoroughly researched book provides an invaluable overview of the controversies surrounding the new hypotheses about the relationships between chemical exposures and human and environmental health. The book al so has much to say about the process of science and how science and scientific theories change as well as providing an example of how to analyze other scientific controversies.

BioScience - Valery Forbes

Hormonal Chaos is a fascinating and readable account of the environmental endocrine hypothesis.

Chemical and Engineering News - Gina M. Solomon

An interesting review of a topic that is even now rocking the foundations of toxicology and risk assessment... This book is relevant to virtually all issues that have global health, economic, and public policy implications.

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences - Mark Jackson

Krimsky has not only successfully narrated the historical roots of the problem but has also exposed the complex social, economic, and political context of modern debates. Perhaps most impressively, Krimsky's account remains balanced and insightful without being polemical.

Journal of the American Medical Association
Hormonal Chaos presents a synthesis of science, policy, the media, and the personalities in the controversial new area of environmental health known as "endocrine disruption," including the natural and synthetic chemicals involved....[A] unique resource for readers wishing an overview of these disparate topics.
William E Morton
Endocrine disrupters include organochlorine substances such as PCBs, dioxins, and furans as well as alkylphenols such as nonylphenol. These contaminants have been widely dispersed in urban and rural environments for many years, although their concentrations are said to have been gradually declining during the past 30 years as their manufacture has been restricted. Just over a decade ago several investigators noticed that these environmental contaminants produced effects that mimicked those of reproductive hormones or of hormonal interference. From these observations was developed the general Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis to explain the role of xenobiotic endocrine disrupters in production of various reproductive abnormalities. This book describes the scientific origins of this hypothesis and the scientific and socio-political interactions that have led to validation and policy development. The purpose is to explain how scientific data and theory evolve into sufficient acceptance for policy and regulation of pollutants. These worthy objectives have been met by the author. This book is for persons with serious environmental health concerns, whether they are graduate students or practitioners. Starting from the scientific basis for the controversy, this book explores and reveals how the theory was developed, how business and social constituencies formed, how congressional hearings led to legislation, political and ethical forces in the scientific community, and how regulatory policies are developed. These portrayals are fascinating, for they emphasize the human dimension in the world of science, which governs how progress actually occurs. Sufficient information has accumulated andsufficient scrutiny has occurred that the reality of the basis for concern over the effects of these endocrine disrupters has been validated. There are many gaps in our knowledge of these substances and their effects, so that much more investigation is needed. The subject is worth knowing about because it will continue to grow and because it is profoundly important. This book is a well-written and gripping explanation of the problem.
From The Critics
Reviewer: William E Morton, MD, DrPH(Oregon Health and Science University)
Description: Endocrine disrupters include organochlorine substances such as PCBs, dioxins, and furans as well as alkylphenols such as nonylphenol. These contaminants have been widely dispersed in urban and rural environments for many years, although their concentrations are said to have been gradually declining during the past 30 years as their manufacture has been restricted. Just over a decade ago several investigators noticed that these environmental contaminants produced effects that mimicked those of reproductive hormones or of hormonal interference. From these observations was developed the general Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis to explain the role of xenobiotic endocrine disrupters in production of various reproductive abnormalities. This book describes the scientific origins of this hypothesis and the scientific and socio-political interactions that have led to validation and policy development.
Purpose: The purpose is to explain how scientific data and theory evolve into sufficient acceptance for policy and regulation of pollutants. These worthy objectives have been met by the author.
Audience: This book is for persons with serious environmental health concerns, whether they are graduate students or practitioners.
Features: Starting from the scientific basis for the controversy, this book explores and reveals how the theory was developed, how business and social constituencies formed, how congressional hearings led to legislation, political and ethical forces in the scientific community, and how regulatory policies are developed.These portrayals are fascinating, for they emphasize the human dimension in the world of science, which governs how progress actually occurs.
Assessment: Sufficient information has accumulated and sufficient scrutiny has occurred that the reality of the basis for concern over the effects of these endocrine disrupters has been validated. There are many gaps in our knowledge of these substances and their effects, so that much more investigation is needed. The subject is worth knowing about because it will continue to grow and because it is profoundly important. This book is a well-written and gripping explanation of the problem.
Library Journal
The environmental endocrine hypothesis claims that a diverse array of industrial and agricultural chemicals can interfere with the body's normal hormone functions and cause reproductive, neurological, and developmental abnormalities in humans and wildlife. Based upon a sizable body of literature and research initially documented in Theo Colborn & others' Our Stolen Future (LJ 2/15/96), this hypothesis quickly gained both supporters and critics among various organizations, government agencies, scientific bodies, and trade groups. Krimsky (urban and environmental policy, Tufts Univ.) explains the development of the theory, response of the scientific community, challenges facing policy makers, and attitudes regarding public safety. This is a fascinating look at the motivations and responsibilities of scientists, politicians, journalists, and industries, who rush to defend their turf when new controversies arise regarding public safety. It also details the complexity of scientific communication. Recommended for environmental and public health collections.--Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
The hypothesis, which has emerged in the past few years, is that a diverse group of industrial and agricultural chemicals can mimic or obstruct hormone function, not only disrupting the endocrine system but fooling it into accepting new instructions that can result in reproductive and development abnormalities, immune dysfunction, and cognitive and behavioral pathologies. Krinsky (urban and environmental policy, Tufts U.) describes its birth in the milieu of science, ethics, and public policy, and works out implications in science, health, environment, and regulation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801872525
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 964,342
  • Product dimensions: 0.68 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheldon Krimsky is a professor in the department of urban and environmental policy at Tufts University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Ch. 1 Scientific Developments 1
Ch. 2 The Emergence of a Public Hypothesis 55
Ch. 3 Uncertainty, Values, and Scientific Responsibility 113
Ch. 4 The Policy Conundrum 171
Ch. 5 Conclusion: Expanding Paradigms of Chemical Hazards 227
Epilogue 235
App. A Chronology of Key Events in the Development of the Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis 239
App. B Consensus Statements from Endocrine Disrupter Work Sessions, 1991-1996 245
App. C Reviews of Our Stolen Future 247
Notes 251
References 257
Index 271
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