EPA Science Inventory

Fifteen years after "Wingspread"- Environmental Endocrine Disrupters and human and wildlife health: Where we are today and where we need to go.

Citation:

Hotchkiss, A. K., C. V. Rider, C. Blystone, V. S. Wilson, P. C. Hartig, G. T. Ankley, P. M. Foster, C. L. Gray, AND L. E. GRAY. Fifteen years after "Wingspread"- Environmental Endocrine Disrupters and human and wildlife health: Where we are today and where we need to go. TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES. Society of Toxicology, 105(2):235-259, (2008).

Description:

In 1991 a group of expert scientists at a Wingspread work session on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) concluded that "Many compounds introduced into the environment by human activity are capable of disrupting the endocrine system of animals, including fish, wildlife, and humans. Endocrine disruption can be profound because of the crucial role hormones play in controlling development." Since that time, there have been numerous documented examples of adverse effects of EDCs in invertebrates, fish, wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Hormonal systems can be disrupted by numerous different anthropogenic chemicals including anti-androgens, androgens, estrogens, AhR agonists, inhibitors of steroid hormone synthesis, antithyroid substances, and retinoid agonists. In addition, pathways and targets for endocrine disruption extend beyond the traditional estrogen/androgen/thyroid (EAT) receptor-mediated reproductive and developmental systems. For example, scientists have expressed concern about the potential role of EDCs in increasing trends in early puberty in girls, obesity and type II diabetes in the US and other populations. New concerns include complex endocrine alterations induced by mixtures of chemicals, an issue broadened due to the growing awareness that EDCs present in the environment include a variety of potent human and veterinary pharmaceutical products, personal care products, nutraceuticals and phytosterols. In this review we 1) address what have we learned about the effects of EDCs on fish, wildlife, and human health, 2) discuss representative animal studies on (anti)androgens, estrogens and TCDD-like chemicals, and 3) evaluate regulatory proposals being considered for screening and testing these chemicals.

Purpose/Objective:

It has been approximately 15 years since the first World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Wingspread Conference focused on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and 10 years since the USEPA was given a mandate under the Food Quality Protection and Safe Drinking Water Acts to develop test protocols to screen for endocrine effects of chemicals. These two events marked the inception of the endocrine disrupting field. This review article highlights some of the major scientific events in the field that have taken place since that time. Research on EDCs has progressed significantly over the past 15 years and now provides concrete examples of chemicals in the environment adversely affecting endocrine systems in diverse fauna, ranging from invertebrates to humans. Although much has been learned, the field is relatively new, and many relevant and timely questions remain. Further, the continued introduction of novel chemicals (drugs, toxic substances, pesticides, nanomaterials, etc) into the environment requires on-going research and monitoring to ensure the safeguarding of the environment for generations to come. In addition to discussing some of the major scientific findings, this review evaluates some of the regulatory proposals being considered for screening and testing these chemicals and suggests future research needs. Overall, this review will provide a timely update on this rapidly progressing field of study for both basic researchers and risk assessors.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Projected Completion Date: 01/01/2008
Record Last Revised: 01/16/2013
Record Created: 11/23/2007
Record Released: 11/23/2007
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 187223

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

REPRODUCTIVE TOXICOLOGY DIVISION

ENDOCRINOLOGY BRANCH