(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2011) The Endocrine Disruptor Exchange Inc. (TEDX), founded by Theo Colborn, PhD, has released a list of chemicals with the potential to affect the endocrine system. According to TEDX, every chemical on the TEDX List has one or more verified citations to published, accessible, primary scientific research demonstrating effects on the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that impact traditional endocrine glands, their hormones and receptors such as estrogens, anti-androgens, and thyroid hormones. To date there are approximately 800 endocrine disruptors on the TEDX List. Download the TEDX List (Excel)
Many everyday chemicals that people are exposed to can wreak havoc on the body’s endocrine system. Pesticides such as triclosan, atrazine, permethrin and many others have been associated with effects on the body’s hormone system. Visit the Pesticide Induced Disease Database for more on the chemicals linked to endocrine disruption. Endocrine effects include direct effects on traditional endocrine glands, their hormones and receptors such as estrogens, anti-androgens, and thyroid hormones, as well as signaling cascades that affect many of the body’s systems, including reproductive function and fetal development, the nervous system and behavior, the immune and metabolic systems, the liver, bones and many other organs, glands and tissues. Read Beyond Pesticides’ factsheet.
As early as 1988, before the term ”˜endocrine disruption’ was used, Dr. Colborn began collecting scientific literature on chemicals that could interfere with function, development and reproduction, particularly on chemicals that had effects at ambient concentrations in wildlife. Today, TEDX’s collection of endocrine disruption literature has grown to over 43,000 documents, including thousands of scientific studies that demonstrate impairment of the endocrine system. In the TEDX List, every citation refers to a primary research study that we acquired and read. Several years went into the process of verifying citations and acquiring publications we did not already have. The number of citations presented in the TEDX List does not necessarily reflect the amount of research that has been done on each chemical and for practical reasons was limited to a maximum of five citations per chemical.
Earlier this year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) adopted a new policy calling for greater government action to protect the public from endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The policy statement follows official positions released earlier in 2010 by both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Endocrine Society in that more needs to be done to protect the public from endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or those that interfere with hormone action. The European Union (EU) also has a database identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals. For a complete list of EU-identified endocrine disruptors, see the EU’s “Endocrine Disruptors Website” database page.
Hundreds of scientific articles have been published across the globe demonstrating how a broad selection of chemicals can interfere with the normal development at extremely low levels of exposure. Scientists discovered effects for some widely used chemicals at concentrations thousands of times less than federal “safe” levels of exposure derived through traditional toxicological tests. Atrazine for example, is the herbicide most frequently found in surface and drinking waters in the U.S. It is linked to a host of adverse health effects including endocrine disruption, which has been well-documented in frogs and other laboratory animals. A recent study from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley showed that atrazine acts as an endocrine disruptor and can cause complete sex reversal in male frogs at 2.5 parts per billion. Certain synthetic pyrethroids, one of the most widely used classes of pesticides, have also been found to demonstrate significant estrogenic activity and increase estrogen levels in the human body. The effects of estrogenic pesticides have been widely researched and have been identified as being responsible for prevalence of feminized fish and amphibians. Triclosan, the controversial antibacterial pesticides that Beyond Pesticides has petitioned the EPA and FDA to ban from consumer products, has been found to interfere with estrogen metabolism in women and can disrupt a vital enzyme during pregnancy.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has identified a list of chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system, along with a draft of the policies and procedures that the agency has proposed to follow for testing. The agency is mandated to test chemicals for their potential to affect the hormone system. However, the agency has yet to finalize its procedures or officially test a chemical for endocrine disruption since tasked to do so in 1996 by an act of Congress. Dr. Colborn has criticized EPA’s testing program stating that the tests are outdated, insensitive, crude, and narrowly limited, and will fail to detect many serious effects on human development. The tests to be used by EPA were first recommended in 1998. Since then the science has made progress and become more sophisticated. Current research is based on different assumptions than the toxicological assumptions that first drove the EPA test designs. However, EPA has not updated its protocol.
Source: The Endocrine Exchange Inc.