Endocrine Analysis & Perspectives
In response to questions about whether certain environmental chemicals may interfere with the endocrine system and cause negative effects, government and scientific bodies have been working to distinguish between endocrine activity and endocrine disruption. The discussion and distinction is significant, with the latter term being linked to negative health effects.
In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) along with the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) proposed the following definition of an endocrine disruptor:
An endocrine disruptor is an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub) populations.
Currently, there are discussions under way in the European Union, and in other government bodies around the globe, regarding how scientific study should be conducted and how regulatory policy should be determined around chemicals and their potential to interact with the endocrine system. Learn more.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a comprehensive, risk-based screening and testing program to understand the potential for a substance to interact with the endocrine system and to conduct further testing if such an interaction could potentially cause harmful effects at real-world exposure levels. Learn more.
Principles for Identifying
The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that help regulate many functions of the human body. Some natural and man-made chemicals can and do interact with the endocrine system, or are “endocrine-active” but endocrine activity does not equate to endocrine disruption.