Sex is a fundamental biological characteristic that influences many aspects of an organism's phenotype, including neurobiological functions and behavior as a result of species-specific evolutionary pressures. Sex differences have strong implications for vulnerability to disease and susceptibility to environmental perturbations. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have the potential to interfere with sex hormones functioning and influence development in a sex specific manner. Here we present an updated descriptive review of findings from animal models and human studies regarding the current evidence for altered sex-differences in behavioral development in response to early exposure to EDCs, with a focus on bisphenol A and phthalates. Overall, we show that animal and human studies have a good degree of consistency and that there is strong evidence demonstrating that EDCs exposure during critical periods of development affect sex differences in emotional and cognitive behaviors. Results are more heterogeneous when social, sexual and parental behaviors are considered. In order to pinpoint sex differences in environmentally-driven disease vulnerabilities, researchers need to consider sex-biased developmental effects of EDCs.
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