The EPA announced its decision not to intensify safety testing methods on low dose levels of hormone-altering chemicals found in a number of consumer products and the environment.
Of particular concern is the agency's minimal focus on what's called "nonmonotonic dose response.” According to the EPA, it means hormone-disrupting chemicals can have erratic properties, most notably, negative health effects at lower exposure levels rather than higher amounts. But the theory remains controversial.
The EPA’s draft “State of the Science” report concluded that low-dose responses to endocrine disrupting chemicals are "generally not common" in human or environmental conditions, and therefore do not require more significant testing at this time. This decision comes after a report submitted to the EPA last year by 12 scientists that criticized the agency's testing methods.
“Whether low doses of endocrine-disrupting compounds influence human disorders is no longer conjecture, as epidemiological studies show that environmental exposures are associated with human diseases and disabilities,” the scientists said in their report published in the journal Endocrine Reviews, reports Scientific American.
The EPA's decision falls in line with mainstream scientific opinion on low dose exposure to the chemicals. However, the agency did acknowledge that a risk exists, albeit significantly low.
The scientists who submitted the report to the agency claim serious health risks are possible, including reproductive issues, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even cancer from exposure to chemicals including BPA (bisphenol-A), which is found in canned foods, plastic products and register receipts. As well, atrazine, a pesticide commonly used on corn that has been linked to a number of health and environmental risks.
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Image: Nomadic Lass