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Permethrin and Hormones

by aseligmann — last modified Jul 30, 2010 12:00 AM

In recent years, scientists have become increasing concerned about the ability of pesticides and other chemicals to disrupt our hormone systems. Hormones are chemical messengers that control importnat processes like growth, development, and sexual function so these concerns are significant. New research shows that the common household insecticide – permethrin – can disrupt hormones.

In recent years, scientists have become increasing concerned about the ability of pesticides and other chemicals to disrupt our hormone systems. Hormones are chemical messengers that control importnat processes like growth, development, and sexual function so these concerns are significant. New research shows that the common household insecticide – permethrin – can disrupt hormones.

How was the study conducted?

Scientists from the Korea Food and Drug Administration and Chungbuk National University (Korea) tested laboratory animals who were fed or injected with permethrin. The researchers measured the size of the uterus in female animals and the size of sexual organs in male animals.

What did the study find?

In female animals, permethrin acted like estrogen (a family of sex hormones), increasing the size of the uterus. In male animals, permethrin counteracted the effects of androgens (another family of sex hormones) decreasing the size of sex tissues such as the glans penis and the seminal vesicles.

Study (includes summary): Kim, S.S. et al. 2005. Potential Estrogenic and Antiandrogenic Effects of Permethrin in Rats. Journal of Reproduction and Development 51(2):522-528