“A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes a strategy that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should use to evaluate the evidence of adverse human health effects from low doses of exposure to chemicals that can disrupt the endocrine system. Endocrine active chemicals (EACs) or endocrine disruptors can cause a variation in normal hormone function. Even small alterations in hormone concentrations, particularly during embryonic development, can have lasting and significant effects. Some EACs have the potential to impact human health at lower doses than those used in traditional toxicity testing by the agency, which means that some effects may be missed. The report’s proposed strategy has three broad steps that can help evaluate evidence of impacts from low-dose chemical exposure:
- Surveillance– Surveillance can detect signals of possible health effects by actively monitoring new data, scientific literature, nontraditional information sources, and stakeholder input to ensure health effects are being identified and analyzed on a regular basis.
- Investigation and Analysis– To further investigate the signals, the agency should analyze existing data, generate new data to fill gaps, conduct a systematic review of evidence, or integrate evidence from human and animal studies. One or more of these options might be needed to answer questions about potential signals.
- Action– Possible actions the agency could take include updating chemical assessments, regularly monitoring for new data, requiring new data or models to reduce uncertainties, or updating toxicity-testing designs and practices. Additional considerations, such as the public health significance and available resources, would also factor into the decision making…”