The endocrine system produces hormones that help our bodies function properly and regulate things like growth and metabolism. The potential for adverse effects to wildlife from exposure to chemicals that could impact the endocrine system has been an important area of research for several decades. To help assess potential impacts to wildlife from exposure to endocrine-active compounds, environmental risk assessments are conducted to ensure their safe use. 

In February of 2016, a diverse panel of leading scientific experts from academia, government and industry met at a workshop to discuss "Current limitations and recommendations to improve testing for the environmental assessment of endocrine-active substances". First, the panel summarized existing regulatory frameworks and test systems for assessing potential endocrine active chemicals. Second, they proposed approaches to address challenges for assessing potential endocrine-active chemicals. Existing tests are designed to robustly assess endocrine activity and/or adverse effects in the estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone signaling pathways. However, there are still some limitations for endocrine testing. This paper provides recommendations on how to further improve approaches to characterize potential adverse effects of endocrine-active compounds. Recommendations include clarifying connections between mechanisms and adverse effects, improving approaches for data analysis and interpretation, identifying potentially sensitive taxa for which methods currently do not exist, and addressing key endocrine pathways of possible concern beyond the estrogen, androgen, and thyroid pathways. The full journal publication can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2EKql29

In addition to this publication, a podcast showcasing this paper and four others that were created from this workshop and are aimed at improving screening, testing and assessment of compounds with potential endocrine activity can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2EUilem

“This paper is important because it provides valuable learnings on endocrine testing from an experienced group of scientists who were closely involved with the development, validation, and implementation of EPA’s endocrine screening studies.“

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“This paper is important because it provides valuable learnings on endocrine testing from an experienced group of scientists who were closely involved with the development, validation, and implementation of EPA’s endocrine screening studies.“

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