A peer-reviewed British study published in the current issue of the scientific journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, revealed that 30 out of 37 of the most common pesticides block or mimic male hormones.
Fungicides commonly applied to fruits and vegetables were found to be considerably risky. These newly discovered hormone disruptors represent a number of still unidentified endocrine blockers resulting from pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals commonly bathing conventional food supplies.
Among the study's researchers, some conducted in-vitro screening of the chemicals using human cells to observe whether pesticides activated or inhibited hormone cell receptors. But scientists are not clear as to whether what happens in isolated cell incidents also happen within the human body when exposed to pesticides.
The EPA has been battling the pesticide industry over its recently expanded Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, testing nearly 200 chemicals for their interference with androgens, estrogen and thyroid hormone activity.
Controversy over the testing procedures has led to public criticism from environmental protection consumer action groups. Members of the chemical industry, who claim the testing procedures are costly and their effectiveness is not well established, also are voicing criticism over the EPA's screening program.
The EPA has directed the pesticide industry to conduct in-vitro assays. Since 2009, 67 chemicals have been identified as needing to be screened for their possible effects on hormones, with another 134 pesticides and chemicals found in water supplies being added to the list just last year.
The EPA received a letter from chemical companies in January asking the agency to temporarily stop listing more chemicals for testing until they've evaluated the current roster of studies.
An extension is also most likely going to be requested by the pesticide industry as the October 2011 deadline is fast approaching.
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