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Stopping endocrine disruptors in their tracks
Chemistry World ^ | 6 December 2012 | Elinor Hughes

Posted on 12/10/2012 3:39:35 PM PST by neverdem

US scientists have come up with a system to assess whether chemists' latest synthetic product is an endocrine disruptor – a chemical that interferes with hormone regulation in animals and humans.

As industry seeks replacements for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as bisphenol A and some flame retardants, it often discovers that the replacements are no better, and sometimes worse, than what is being replaced. This is because the replacements have been designed using the same flawed tools as their parent chemicals and because of the lack of adequate EDC testing, say the scientists. Now, a team led by Pete Myers, chief executive and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, Virginia, has come up with a way to address this using a system they call TiPED (tiered protocol for endocrine disruption).

The endocrine system

The endocrine system

TiPED detects EDC action in new chemicals. The system consists of five testing tiers ranging from broad in silico evaluation up through specific cell- and whole organism-based assays. ‘It’s a voluntary programme to be used by chemists, with the help of environmental health scientists, as they work with new chemicals in the lab before they move into the market,’ Myers explains.

Most of the assays used in current regulatory processes are decades old and the process for updating them is laborious, says Myers. Also, current tools such as quantitative or structure activity analysis and high-throughput screening using in vitro assays do not address the complexity of the endocrine system. TiPED, by contrast, is designed to evolve as the science on EDCs develops and it broadly interrogates the endocrine system for EDC impact, he adds.

Tiered trapdoors

At each tier, the assays determine whether sufficient evidence is available to conclude that the chemical is not an EDC. If tests for the chemical are negative on one level, it can move to the next, more stringent tier. This saves money and resources by catching serious problems early, Myers says. If the tests are positive, then the chemist has a choice: to stop working on the chemical or redesign it using information provided by the assays.

EDCs affect male and female reproduction and have been linked to cancer, neuroendocrinology problems, thyroid dysfunction, obesity and metabolic disorders, among many others. They are widely used in consumer products and as agricultural and industrial chemicals so exposure is ubiquitous. As a result, businesses are searching for ways of eliminating endocrine disrupting characteristics from their products. The Endocrine Society – the world's largest scientific and medical association focusing on how hormones work and how to treat hormone-related diseases – has identified EDC action as one of their biggest health concerns, says Myers.

But the question remains: how could the system be implemented and where would it be based? ‘We are exploring several options that include hosting by a university or starting a not-for-profit or company. It is even possible that government agencies may become partners with us in offering this service to chemists and chemical companies,’ says Myers.

‘This is a thought-provoking paper that should prove useful for chemists in industry, academia, non-government and government institutions,’ says Retha Newbold, head of the developmental endocrinology section in the laboratory of molecular toxicology for the National Institute of Environmental Health Services, US. ‘Some may consider the paper to be too green or to have too much of an environmental agenda; however, the proposed tiered testing for endocrine disrupting substances could prove cost-effective and economically profitable if it results in less regulation because chemicals are developed that are inherently safe from their inception.’

References

T T Schug et al, Green Chem., 2013, DOI: 10.1039/c2gc35055f


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Science
KEYWORDS: endocrinedisruptors

1 posted on 12/10/2012 3:39:40 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

What is the purpose of endocrine disruptors?


2 posted on 12/10/2012 3:45:34 PM PST by Eva
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To: Eva

I don’t know, but my endocrine system doesn’t work right.


3 posted on 12/10/2012 3:56:22 PM PST by wastedyears (I don't want to live on this planet anymore.)
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To: Eva
Apparantly they disrupt endocrine.
4 posted on 12/10/2012 4:00:27 PM PST by dis.kevin (Dry white toast)
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To: Eva
What is the purpose of endocrine disruptors?

It's more like unintended effects, e.g. decreased sperm counts.

5 posted on 12/10/2012 4:00:32 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

Some people have postulated the rise in homosexuality is a result of endocrine disrupting chemicals in our environment.

No doubt it interferes, the question is what results from the interference.


6 posted on 12/10/2012 4:01:54 PM PST by BereanBrain
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To: wastedyears
Neither does mine but I don't know if disruptors are to blame or not.
7 posted on 12/10/2012 4:10:49 PM PST by darkangel82 (I don't have a superiority complex, I'm just better than you.)
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To: BereanBrain
Some people have postulated the rise in homosexuality is a result of endocrine disrupting chemicals in our environment.

I wonder what environmental factors caused the ancient Greeks to be lovers of pederasty and homosexuality...

" I'm gay because my endocrine disrupting chemicals made me a flaming homosexual"

Okey..Dokey

8 posted on 12/10/2012 5:03:53 PM PST by Popman
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To: Apple Blossom; theKid51

ping


9 posted on 12/10/2012 5:07:40 PM PST by bmwcyle (We have gone over the cliff and we are about to hit the bottom)
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To: neverdem; BereanBrain
I know that the older generation of birth control pills contained estradiol, which is a for-sure endocrine disruptor. And it isn't well broken down by city waste-water treatment systems, so it gets into the discharge effluents bigtime and ends up queering the aquatic vertebrates, e.g. egg proteins appearing in the testes of male amphibians and certainn piscene species, in short, "freaky fish."

But the newer genertion of pills--- and also the day-after pills like "ella" and "Plan B" ---- I'm not so sure.

Anybody know?

10 posted on 12/10/2012 5:43:16 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Vive le difference!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I don’t know.


11 posted on 12/10/2012 6:06:41 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: Popman

still we can all agree that chemicals that could turn you into a shemale are better kept away from our environment.


12 posted on 12/10/2012 6:19:10 PM PST by jarwulf
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To: BereanBrain
Some people have postulated the rise in homosexuality is a result of endocrine disrupting chemicals in our environment.

I think the feminization of boys is due both to cultural factors and environmental endocrine influences. Cause of homos -- not so sure.

13 posted on 12/10/2012 6:22:29 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: darkangel82

I don’t know if that would be the case with me either. I’ve been feeling like crap for a long time, and I’m tired of it. My 91 year old grandfather and I have the same complaints.


14 posted on 12/11/2012 6:47:40 AM PST by wastedyears (I don't want to live on this planet anymore.)
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