Evaluating Endocrine Disruption Activity of Deposits on Firefighting Gear Using a Sensitive and High Throughput Screening Method

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Objective:Adverse health outcomes related to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, including increased incidences of coronary heart disease, prostate and testicular cancers, and congenital disabilities, have been reported in firefighters or their offspring. We, therefore, measured the estrogenic and antiestrogenic activity of extracts of used firefighter gear to assess exposure to these agents.Methods:Extracts and known chemical contaminants were examined for estrogenicity and antiestrogenicity in yeast cells expressing the estrogen receptor.Results:Most extracts of used gear and phthalate diesters detectable on this gear displayed strong antiestrogenic effects. Notably, new glove and hood extracts showed significant estrogenic activity.Conclusions:Overall, our data suggest that firefighters are exposed to both estrogenic and antiestrogenic agents, possibly phthalates that may lead to health risks observed in this occupation as a result of perturbation of hormone homeostasis.

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