Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Harming Horses: Study

Some synthetic and industrialized (naturally occurring chemicals that have been synthetically-altered) that have been shown to be toxic for humans also have deleterious consequences for nonhuman animals.  This is especially true for the class of chemicals known as ‘endocrine disruptors’ (disrupting hormonal balance) that are now commonplace in processed foods, pesticides, plastics and personal care products.

As one example of how nonhuman animals are adversely impacted, a new scientific study has found that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a horse’s environment may be triggering the development of equine metabolic syndrome (EMS).  Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) “is characterized by endocrine abnormalities in horses and ponies. Affected horses and ponies have a tendency to develop pockets of fat and/or become obese, and they have altered insulin dynamics. EMS also is one of the most common causes of laminitis, a painful and very debilitating inflammation of tissue in a horse’s hooves, leading to reduced performance, and in severe cases necessitating euthanasia.”  Horses likely come into contact with endocrine-disrupting chemicals through their food.


Journal Reference:  S.A. Durward-Akhurst, N.E. Schultz, E.M. Norton, A.K. Rendahl, H. Besselink, P.A. Behnisch, A. Brouwer, R.J. Geor, J.R. Mickelson, M.E. McCue. Associations between endocrine disrupting chemicals and equine metabolic syndrome phenotypes. Chemosphere, 2019; 218: 652

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.11.136