EPA Proposes New Endocrine Screening Approach for Chemicals
EPA requests public comment on a proposed alternative scientific approach to screen chemicals for their ability to interact with the endocrine system. According to EPA, the new endocrine screening approach “reliably identifies the potential for chemicals to mimic estrogen in hormone physiology” and provides an alternative to three of the eleven current screening tests. The agency’s press release notes that the new technology allows for faster and less expensive screening than conventional methods. The new technology was developed in the agency’s ToxCast program, which uses automated, robotics-assisted high throughput assays to expose living cells or proteins to chemicals and measure the results. ToxCast is part of EPA’s contribution to Tox21, a federal research collaboration among EPA, NIH, and FDA to use robotics to screen thousands of chemicals for potential bioactivity. “The Tox21 consortium is rapidly developing additional models to predict androgen and thyroid activity, which will provide alternatives for the other eight tests,” EPA’s press release reads. “Thus far, EPA has estrogen screening results for 1,800 chemicals; by FY2016, we expect results for almost 3,000 chemicals.” For more information, see the Federal Register notice. Comments are due by Aug. 18, 2015.