Theodora (Theo) Emily Colborn (1927-2014)
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Theodora Colborn studied how chemicals affect organisms as they develop and reproduce during the twentieth and twenty first centuries in the US. By the 1940s, researchers had reported that chemicals from agricultural and industrial processes affected how wild organisms developed, but in 1991, Colborn organized the Wingspread Conference in Racine, Wisconsin, at which a group of scientists classed these chemicals as environmentally harmful substances. Colborn and her colleagues called those chemicals endocrine disruptors, as they mimic or block the body's endocrine system. After scientists identified these chimicals and showed that they harm humans and wildlife, US Congress passed several acts to regulate these chemicals and to protect both wildlife and humans from their harmful effects.