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Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Apr;24(2):279-89. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2009.10.003.

Genital anomalies in boys and the environment.

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  • 1University Department of Growth and Reproduction GR, Section 5064, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


The prevalence of male reproductive disorders, such as testicular cancer and impaired semen quality, is increasing in many, albeit not all, countries. These disorders are aetiologically linked with congenital cryptorchidism and hypospadias by common factors leading to perinatal disruption of normal testis differentiation, the testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS). There is recent evidence that also the prevalence of genital malformations is increasing and the rapid pace of increase suggests that lifestyle factors and exposure to environmental chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties may play a role. Recent prospective studies have established links between perinatal exposure to persistent halogenated compounds and cryptorchidism, as well as between phthalates and anti-androgenic effects in newborns. Maternal alcohol consumption, mild gestational diabetes and nicotine substitutes were also identified as potential risk factors for cryptorchidism. It may be the cocktail effect of many simultaneous exposures that result in adverse effects, especially during foetal life and infancy.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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