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Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are compounds that either mimic or block endogenous hormones and can disrupt the normal function of the body. Biomonitoring is the assessment of internal doses of EDCs and has been used for decades to provide information about exposures to chemicals, giving information about a person's “body burden” of EDCs.

Humans are exposed to a complex mixture of chemicals, and toxicological studies have shown that individual persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have very different biological effects and potentials. Therefore, the assessment of the integrated biological effect of the actual chemical mixture in human blood is important and ex vivo cell systems have been introduced to enable the assessment of the integrated level of xenobiotic transactivity in humans.

Biomonitoring studies using exposure biomarkers have shown that there are geographical differences in the levels of bioaccumulated POPs, and these geographical differences are also seen in biomonitoring studies for receptor effects. The xenohormone receptor transactivities can be used as an integrated biomarker of POP exposure and lifestyle characteristics. Comparison of different study populations requires, in addition to age, inclusion of diet and lifestyle factors.

Further studies are needed to elucidate whether the impact of serum POPs on the activity of hormone and/or dioxin receptors might affect the risk to health.

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