Endocrine Disruptors and Health Effects in Africa: A Call for Action

Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Aug 22;125(8):085005. doi: 10.1289/EHP1774.


Background: Africa faces a number of unique environmental challenges. Unfortunately, it lacks the infrastructure needed to support the comprehensive environmental studies that could provide the scientific basis to inform environmental policies. There are a number of known sources of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and other hazardous chemicals in Africa. However, a coordinated approach to identify and monitor these contaminants and to develop strategies for public health interventions has not yet been made.

Objectives: This commentary summarizes the scientific evidence presented by experts at the First African Endocrine Disruptors meeting. We describe a "call to action" to utilize the available scientific knowledge to address the impact of EDCs on human and wildlife health in Africa.

Discussion: We identify existing knowledge gaps about exposures to EDCs in Africa and describe how well-designed research strategies are needed to address these gaps. A lack of resources for research and a lag in policy implementation slows down intervention strategies and poses a challenge to advancing future health in Africa.

Conclusion: To address the many challenges posed by EDCs, we argue that Africans should take the lead in prioritization and evaluation of environmental hazards, including EDCs. We recommend the institution of education and training programs for chemical users, adoption of the precautionary principle, establishment of biomonitoring programs, and funding of community-based epidemiology and wildlife research programs led and funded by African institutes and private companies. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP1774.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Endocrine Disruptors / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances