Endocrine Disruptors as Pollutants in Marine Ecosystem: A Case Study in Egypt

Maha Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah*
National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Marine Pollution Laboratory, Qait Bey, Alexandria, Egypt

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© Maha Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Marine Pollution Laboratory, Qait Bey, Alexandria, Egypt; Tel: +201007205032; Email:


Growing populations and increasing industry and agriculture activates have increased the existence of chemicals in the aquatic environment. The variety of anthropogenic chemicals that have been identified as potential endocrine disruptors (EDCs) in the environment and the problems arising from their use as human and livestock pharmaceuticals are discussed. Sewage effluents have been identified as a source of a diverse mixture of EDCs to the aquatic environment. These waters from homes and industries include natural and synthetic hormones (estrogens, androgens), active ingredients in pharmaceuticals, metals, pesticides, personal care product additives, and industrial chemicals. Once effluents are discharged to aquatic environments, EDCs will be diluted in stream or river waters so that organisms living very close to the discharge will have the highest exposure. Aquatic organisms also readily take up and store EDCs and its metabolites. Exposure to endocrine active compounds remains poorly characterized in developing countries despite the fact that behavioral practices related to westernization have the potential to influence exposure. Thus, in Egypt for example, it is likely that women in urban areas have a higher exposure to environmental hormonal risk factors, possibly xenoestrogens (EDCs) with regards to known risk factors of uterine and breast cancer.

Keywords: Aquatic environment, endocrine disruptors, Egypt, marine organism.