For more than a decade, World Wildlife Fund has been calling the world's attention to chemicals that interfere with reproduction, reduce resistance to disease, and change behavior in wildlife and humans. Known as "endocrine disruptors" because they disrupt the functioning of hormone systems, these widespread synthetic chemicals have been building up in wildlife and humans, even in the most remote populations of marine animals, polar bears, and other wildlife. At the same time, there have been worrisome increases in human cancers, children's diseases, and other health disorders to which these chemicals may contribute.
Sadly, despite progress in recent years in reducing threats from various chemicals in our air and water, we still know very little about the health and environmental effects of most of the chemicals that surround us. What we don't know could be hurting generations of wildlife and people.
Fortunately, WWF activists have been pushing hard for funding and legislation to increase our understanding of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The information gleaned can reduce threats to wildlife, help citizens avoid dangerous chemicals in household products, encourage companies to make their products safer, and prevent serious health effects in our children.
The more than 13,000 messages that Conservation Action Network activists sent to Capitol Hill helped convince Congress to support the funding. WWF has worked for three years to provide significant funding for endocrine disruptor programs. One way we help build support is to ask members of Congress to sign a joint letter to their colleagues urging them to vote for the funds. In 2001 we gathered a record number of signatures to that letter, thanks in part to your support.