EPA Orders Pesticide Testing for Hormone Effects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued the first test orders for pesticide chemicals to be screened for their potential effects on the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by human and animal endocrine systems, which regulate growth, metabolism and reproduction.

"After years of delay, EPA is aggressively moving forward by ordering the testing of a number of pesticide chemicals for hormone effects," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. "These new data will be carefully evaluated to help identify potential hormone disruptor chemicals."

On Oct. 21, EPA made available the battery of scientific assays and test guidelines for conducting the assays, as well as a schedule for issuing test orders to manufacturers for 67 chemicals during the next four months. The data generated from the screens will provide robust and systematic scientific information to help EPA identify whether additional testing is necessary, or whether other steps are necessary to address potential endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Testing, conducted through the agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, will eventually expand to cover all pesticide chemicals. Now that screening is under way for the first group of chemicals, EPA is preparing to review the responses, evaluate the data, determine the potential of endocrine interaction, and whether additional testing is necessary to guide further regulation.

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