Friday, August 12, 2011

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Industry Petition for Guidance on Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals

The USEPA on August 10, 2011 published a notice in the Federal Register "seeking public comment on a June 21, 2011 petition" from three major trade associations requesting the Agency "develop and publish guidance explaining the criteria by which EPA will make its decisions on data received in response to the test orders issued under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program" (EDSP).

Almost two years ago EPA initiated the EDSP Tier 1 screening for a list of 67 chemicals for the potential of being endocrine disruptors.  Orders for testing were issued in the months following, with manufacturers of the initial list of chemicals being required to conduct eleven Tier I screening assays.  The goal of the suite of assays is to "determine the potential for a chemical to interact with estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormone systems."  Chemicals that were identified as possible disruptors could be subject to a second tier of assays designed to further evaluate and quantify endocrine effects. Last month the Inspector General faulted EPA for not moving fast enough to identify endocrine disruptor chemicals, and this response is unlikely to speed up the process.

Herein lies the reason for the industry petition.  Despite efforts to develop higher level assays, the exact assays to be required and the criteria for selecting them remains uncertain.  Crop Life America (CropLife), the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA), and the Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) filed the petition in an effort to better understand how EPA will use the Tier 1 screening data.  Particularly, the trade associations want EPA to "fully analyze the Tier 1 screening data received in response to the list 1 test orders and revise the guidance to be developed to reflect what is learned by the analysis in order to ensure scientifically sound determinations and to protect the public health and the environment."  In other words, what exactly are you going to do with the data received, and can you at least figure out what it all means before jumping into requiring the suite of tests for hundreds of other chemicals.  And definitely don't even think about requiring Tier 2 tests before you know whether the Tier 1 tests provided any reliable information.

The Federal Register notice can be downloaded as a PDF here.

More information on EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program can be found on their web site.

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