Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Endocrine Society issues Statement of Principles on endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health protection

The Endocrine Society, whose mission is "to advance excellence in endocrinology and promote its essential and integrative role in scientific discovery, medical practice, and human health," has issued a "statement of principles" regarding endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health protection.  They propose "a streamlined definition for endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)" and offer recommendations "that will strengthen the ability of the current screening programs to identify EDCs."

The position statement is published in the September 2012 issue of the Society's journal, Endocrinology, in a paper authored by R. Thomas Zoeller and seven others.

Recommendations in the statement include:

• Basic scientists actively engaged in the development of new knowledge in relevant disciplines
should be involved in evaluating the weight-of-evidence of EDC studies, as well as in the design and
interpretation of studies that inform the regulation of EDCs;

• State-of-the-art molecular and cellular techniques, and highly sensitive model systems, need to be
built into current testing, in consultation with the appropriate system experts;

• Testing needs to include models of developmental exposure during critical life periods when
organisms may be most vulnerable to even very low-dose exposures;

• The design and interpretation of tests must incorporate the biological principle that EDCs act
through multiple mechanisms in physiological systems; and

• Endocrine principles, such as those outlined in this document, should be incorporated into
programs by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies charged with
evaluating chemicals for endocrine-disrupting potential.

The statement also provides a list of principles intended to enhance the ability of current screening
programs to identify EDCs. Principles in the statement include:

• Environmental chemicals that interfere with any aspect of hormone action should be presumed to
produce adverse effects;

• EDC exposures during development can have effects on hormone action that cannot be corrected,
leaving permanent adverse impacts on cognitive function and other health parameters;

• People are exposed to multiple EDCs at the same time, and these mixtures can have a greater effect
on the hormone system than any single EDC alone; and

• The weight-of-evidence guidance developed by the EPA must be strengthened by adhering to
principles of endocrinology outlined here, including low-dose effects and nonlinear or nonmonotonic
dose-response curves.

More information can be found in the journal article.

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