Dioxin, similar to several persistent organic pollutants, has been found to significantly affect estrogen- and testosterone-mediated processes. Some dioxin compounds have been shown to decrease the number of estrogen receptors in certain organs in female rats, possibly resulting in decreased fertility and increased incidence of tumors in these organs. In male rats, some compounds have been shown to reduce testosterone levels by preventing production of enzymes responsible for increasing testosterone synthesis when levels of the hormone get low. When administered prenatally to rats, lower sperm counts have been observed in male progeny and urogenital malformations have been observed in females.
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