Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Research Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Summary of a Peer-Review Report

By Harding, Anna K.; Daston, George P. et al. | Environmental Health Perspectives, August 2006 | Go to article overview

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Research Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Summary of a Peer-Review Report


Harding, Anna K., Daston, George P., Boyd, Glen R., Lucier, George W., Safe, Stephen H., Stewart, Juarine, Tillitt, Donald E., Van Der Kraak, Glen, Environmental Health Perspectives


At the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development, a subcommittee of the Board of Scientific Counselors Executive Committee conducted an independent and open peer review of the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Research Program (EDC Research Program) of the U.S. EPA. The subcommittee was charged with reviewing the design, relevance, progress, scientific leadership, and resources of the program. The subcommittee found that the long-term goals and science questions in the EDC Program are appropriate and represent an understandable and solid framework for setting research priorities, representing a combination of problem-driven and core research. Long-term goal (LTG) 1, dealing with the underlying science surrounding endocrine disruptors, provides a solid scientific foundation for conducting risk assessments and making risk management decisions. LTG 2, dealing with defining the extent of the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), has shown greater progress on ecologic effects of EDCs compared with that on human health effects. LTG 3, which involves support of the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Program of the U.S. EPA, has two mammalian tests already through a validation program and soon available for use. Despite good progress, we recommend that the U.S. EPA a) strengthen their expertise in wildlife toxicology, b) expedite validation of the Endocrine Disruptors Screening and Testing Advisory Committee tests, c) continue dependable funding for the EDC Research Program, d) take a leadership role in the application of "omics" technologies to address many of the science questions critical for evaluating environmental and human health effects of EDCs, and e) continue to sponsor multidisciplinary intramural research and interagency collaborations. Key words: ecologic effects, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, endocrine disruptors, hormonal activity, human health, risk assessment, risk management, screening and testing. Environ Health Perspect 114:1276-1282 (2006). doi:10.1289/ehp.8875 available via http://dx.doi.org/ [Online 15 March 2006]

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At the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD), the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Executive Committee (U.S. EPA 2005a) organized and conducted an independent and open peer review of the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Research Program (EDC Research Program) of the U.S. EPA. In May 2004 the BOSC formed a subcommittee to conduct the review, including individuals from academia, industry, private consulting, and other agencies. The subcommittee members (co-authors of this article) have expertise specific to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and related areas, with research that has considerable overlap with the U.S. EPA-sponsored EDC Research Program. Three members (A. Harding, G. Daston, and J. Stewart) were also members of the BOSC Executive Committee.

The subcommittee was charged with reviewing the design, relevance, progress, scientific leadership, and resources of the program (Appendix 1) and providing a report to the BOSC Executive Committee. Our purpose was to review the progress of the U.S. EPA in establishing and managing an effective cross-disciplinary and cross-functional program in endocrine disruptors that addresses the needs that the U.S. EPA has already articulated in its Research Plan for Endocrine Disruptors (Research Plan; U.S. EPA 1998a) and its Multiyear Plan (MYP) for Endocrine Disruptors (U.S. EPA 2003a). It was not our purpose to create a new research agenda or to critique the existing one. In this report we summarize the findings from the review of the program by the subcommittee.

Background

In the early 1990s scientists began to synthesize information about the potential impacts of endocrine-mediated toxicity on humans and wildlife, arriving at the hypothesis that weakly endocrine-active compounds in the environment were having significant adverse effects on public and environmental health (Colborn and Clement 1992). …

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