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Endocrine Society tells National Research Council EPA report lacks critical perspectives

Chevy Chase, MD—As the National Research Council (NRC) prepares to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) report on one critical aspect of the evaluation of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), it has provided an open comment period and The Endocrine Society is weighing in. The Society is encouraged that the EPA is evaluating its approach to risk assessment but is very concerned that the endocrine perspective has not been sufficiently incorporated during the process.

“Reducing health risks associated with EDCs is an important mission that cannot succeed without the broad and deep knowledge of endocrine systems that endocrine experts bring to the table,” said Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, president of The Endocrine Society. “Had the EPA panel included experts in endocrinology, the report we see today would present significantly different conclusions.”

The EPA report specifically addresses the scientific concept of non-monotonic dose responses (NMDR). NMDR are important because if a chemical has such a dose response profile, it can exert health effects at exposure levels below which the EPA currently tests, which could result in harmful chemicals not being identified.  The report concludes that “current testing strategies are unlikely to mischaracterize, as a consequence of NMDR, a chemical that has the potential for adverse perturbations of the estrogen, androgen or thyroid pathways.”

The Society disagrees with this conclusion, noting in its statement that current testing strategies discount what the EPA refers to as “lower order” biological responses that might be important clues to adverse effects.

The Society told the NRC that the EPA should work with external endocrine scientists who understand the mechanisms and consequences of hormone action under normal circumstances to identify newly discovered adverse outcomes and incorporate them into screening programs.

The Endocrine Society has published a Scientific Statement on EDCs—a thorough review of the literature, with recommendations for improved policy—and a Statement of Principles—a summary of critical endocrine principles that are relevant to risk assessment as it applies to EDCs. In its Statement of Principles, the Society recommends that endocrine principles be incorporated into programs by the EPA and other agencies charged with evaluating chemicals for endocrine-disrupting potential.

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Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology.  Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 16,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on Twitter at!/EndoMedia.