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Endocrine disrupters

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Endocrine disrupters are substances, man-made or natural, which can interfere with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife, with potentially adverse effects, for example, on fertility and neural development.

Metabonomics: UPLC-MS/MS (Ultra-Performance Liquid Cromatography with tandem Mass Spectrometry) operator - DSC_5377.jpgThe endocrine system is a network of glands in the body, each of which secretes a type of hormone into the bloodstream to regulate the body. Certain substances – termed endocrine disrupters - interfere with the functioning of the endocrine system, in at least three possible ways:

  • by mimicking the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as oestrogen or testosterone, and thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body;

  • by blocking the receptors in cells receiving the hormones (hormone receptors), thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or

  • by affecting the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones.

 

Devising test methods

It is important to have effective methods for testing the safety of chemicals in relation to endocrine disruption. 

The Institute for Consumer and Health Protection (IHCP) provides scientific analytical support to the initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment to improve the assessment criteria of the endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals.

Assessing the risks posed by chemicals is a long and complex process. Scientists at the Institute work to devise a combination of computer methods, automated laboratory in vitro test and human bio-monitoring, which would help predict the toxicity of chemicals.

In this manner, hazardous substances could be profiled and prioritised for further testing, thereby speeding up the application of the most appropriate regulatory measures.

 

See also the section dedicated to the Endrocrine Active Substances Database

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News: Highlights
JRC releases report on key scientific issues for the identification and characterisation of endocrine disrupting substances
JRC releases report on key scientific issues for the identification and characterisation of endocrine disrupting substances - Mar 28, 2013

The report will be used by the Commission, with other input such as the recently issued opinion of the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Committee, to provide the scientific basis for criteria for the identification of endocrine disrupting substances, to be applied, as appropriate, across all relevant pieces of legislation concerning the control and risk management of substances (including pesticides, biocides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, controls on water quality, occupational exposure, etc)

Endocrine Disrupters
5th meeting of the Expert Advisory Group on Endocrine Disruptors (ED EAG)
5th meeting of the Expert Advisory Group on Endocrine Disruptors (ED EAG) - Feb 05, 2013

4-5 February 2013 - Scientific advice on the development of criteria for identification of ...

Endocrine Disrupters
Presentations now available: Workshop 'Low Dose Effects and Non-Monotonic Dose Responses for Endocrine Active Chemicals'
Presentations now available: Workshop 'Low Dose Effects and Non-Monotonic Dose Responses for Endocrine Active Chemicals' - Nov 22, 2012

Held in Berlin, 11-13 September 2012

Endocrine Disrupters
Joint JRC-NIEHS Workshop on Low Dose Effects of Endocrine Active Chemicals
Joint JRC-NIEHS Workshop on Low Dose Effects of Endocrine Active Chemicals - Sep 18, 2012

Risk assessors, toxicologists, endocrinologists, and epidemiologists met on 11-13 September in ...

Endocrine Disruptors
Presentations now available: EU Conference on Endocrine Disruptors: Current challenges in science and policy
Presentations now available: EU Conference on Endocrine Disruptors: Current challenges in science and policy - Jun 26, 2012

Held in Brussels, 11-12 June 2012

Endocrine Disrupters
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News: Publications
Updated Brochure - DNT3 Conference - Feb 17, 2011
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Deliverables: Reports
The JRC Vision for an Endocrine Active Substances Database and Web Portal - Nov 15, 2011
Information sources and databases on Endocrine Active Substances - Feb 22, 2011
Report of the workshop "Stakeholders' requirements for an EU Endocrine Active Substances database" - Ispra, October 21-22, 2010 - Feb 14, 2011
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