In summer 1991, Theo Colborn, senior fellow at the W. Alton Jones Foundation, Charlottesville, Va., and the World Wildlife Fund, convened 21 scientists at the Wingspread Center in Racine, Wis. Participants included experts in a variety of fields, including reproductive physiology, ecology, comparative endocrinology, histopathology, immunology, and zoology. Few of the scientists who attended the meeting knew about each other’s work beforehand. Each was surprised to learn that the adverse health effects being observed in his or her object of study, such as Great Lakes salmon, were being seen across a broad range of species.
At the end of the meeting, the scientists concluded: “A large number of man-made chemicals that have been released into the environment, as well as a few natural ones, have the potential to disrupt the endocrine systems of animals, including humans. Among these are the persistent bioaccumulative organohalogen compounds that include some pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides) and industrial chemicals, other synthetic products, and some metals.”
Concerns Broaden over Chlorine and Chlorinated Hydrocarbons: Calls for gradual phaseout of classes of chlorinated organics are being made in response to evidence of adverse health effects on humans and wildlife