Improve Testing of Dangerous Hormone-Mimicking Chemicals

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Target: Lisa Jackson, Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Goal: Reform methods of testing hormone-mimicking chemicals to accurately assess their health impact

Hormone-mimicking chemicals, found in everyday household items from plastics and cosmetics to the pesticides used on our food, have been linked in numerous studies to birth defects and serious health problems such as cancer. Despite increased awareness of  the dangers of these chemicals, testing of their impact on human health remains inadequate because it does not account for the varied effects of exposure to so-called trace amounts. It is therefore necessary to reform our means of testing these harmful chemicals.

A comprehensive review article published in March, 2012 concluded that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can have impacts at doses far lower than those tested in epidemiological studies, or tests that merely extrapolate potential human impact from high-dose animal exposure. Testing of EDCs is particularly complex because they may have different or greater effects at lower doses than at higher doses, referred to as non-monotonic dose response. Laura Vandenburg of Tufts University Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, the lead author of the report, explained to Environmental Health News, “Non-monotonic dose response occurs when humans’ or animals’ responses to chemicals do not necessarily go up or down with the dose – effects can occur at any level. Low dose effect means you see an effect below a certain cutoff.” Thus, testing for low-dose response and non-monotonic response is necessary for an accurate assessment of the chemicals’ impact on human health.

Compelled by the March 2012 report, along with a failed 2009 congressional bill that would have promoted research of endocrine disruptors, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with other federal agencies, has initiated an investigation of the effects of human exposure to trace amounts of EDCs. In 2013, the EPA is expected to release a “state of the science” report of its findings, which will include an evaluation of current methods of testing.

In light of overwhelming evidence of the harmful nature of these chemicals, along with growing consensus that our methods of evaluating them are insufficient, it would be appropriate to begin new testing methods immediately. Sign the petition below and urge the EPA to begin testing for the true impact of these ubiquitous toxic substances.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Jackson,

Evidence of the harmful effects of human exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can no longer be ignored. These hormone-mimicking chemicals, which are found in everyday household items, from plastics and cosmetics to the pesticides used on our food, have been linked in numerous studies to birth defects and serious health problems, such as cancer. Despite increased awareness of their dangers, testing of the impact of EDCs on human health remains inadequate because it does not account for the varied effects of exposure to so-called trace amounts. It is therefore necessary to reform our means of testing these harmful chemicals.

As you know, testing of EDCs is particularly complex because they may have different or greater effects at lower doses than at higher doses, referred to as non-monotonic dose response. Therefore, as opposed to traditional epidemiological studies or simply extrapolating potential human effects from high-dose animal exposure, we must test for both low-dose and non-monotonic response.

I commend the Environmental Protection Agency for launching an investigation into EDCs and our methods of testing their impact on human health. However, with all of the evidence building up, we cannot afford to wait. While your investigation is underway, I urge you take immediate action on this critical public health issue by amending our methods of testing to include non-monotonic and low-dose response to these toxic chemicals.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ryan Hagerty, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via public-domain-image

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One Comment

  1. These endocrine disruptors are in most laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer strips and fragrances. Absorbed through the skin and crossing both placenta and blood brain barriers, they are especially harmful to developing fetuses and children, who cannot eliminate them as readily as adults. They are dangerous to the entire population, and the fumes from laundry dryers are major contributors to climate change. There has been a precipitous increase in ADHD, autism, cancer and other chronic conditions since the introduction of high efficiency machines and products in 1995.

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