The Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program and Why We Need It

This graphic shows how endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with our hormones.  

This graphic shows how endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with our hormones.  

The Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) screens pesticides, chemicals, and environmental contaminants for their potential effect on estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormone systems. The EDSP is mandated to use validated methods for the screening and testing chemicals to identify potential endocrine disruptors, determine adverse effects, dose-response, assess risk and ultimately manage risk under current laws. These methods or assays allow EPA to identify and characterize the endocrine activity (specifically, estrogen, androgen and thyroid) of pesticides, commercial chemicals, and environmental contaminants

Based on scientifically sound risk assessment, the Agency can make risk management decisions regulating the chemical(s).

The EDSP uses a tiered approach for screening chemicals. 

·       Tier 1 screening data is used to identify substances that have the potential to interact with the endocrine system. Chemicals that go through Tier 1 screening and are found to exhibit the potential to interact with the estrogen, androgen, or thyroid hormone systems will proceed to Tier 2 for testing.

·       Tier 2 testing data identifies any adverse endocrine-related effects caused by the substance, and establish a quantitative relationship between the dose and that adverse effect. The results of Tier 2 testing will be combined with other hazard information and exposure assessment on a given chemical resulting in the risk assessment. Risk assessments are used to inform risk mitigation measures, as necessary, and regulatory decisions concerning chemicals.

Under President Trump’s proposed FY 2017 budget this program, which costs $6 million would be eliminated.  Overall, the President is asking for $5.7 billion in fiscal 2017 funding for EPA. That would be $2.6 billion less than current FY 2016 funding at $8.3 billion for the agency.  The agreement reached to keep the government funded through October 1 (FY 2017) saves most EPA programs. The bill sets the EPA budget at $8 billion, $81 million below current operating level; however, President Trump has proposed a 31% cut in the EPA’s budget for FY 2018.  Meaning that important programs like the EDSP is safe for now but could very well be on the chopping block next year.

In addition, Dr. Nancy Beck has just been appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and reportedly started in that position on Monday, April 17, 2017.  Dr. Beck is moving into her new position at EPA directly from her job as Senior Director, Regulatory Science Policy, Division of Regulatory & Technical Affairs at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a position she has held since January, 2012.  ACC is the main trade association for the chemicals industry, with a membership of more than 150 chemical companies, including such behemoths as BASF, Dow, DuPont and ExxonMobil.  Dr. Beck will now be making decisions that will directly affect the financial interests of the companies represented by ACC.  And they will involve deciding whether or not the agency should take positions for which Dr. Beck has advocated on behalf of her former employer, as recently as last month. 

FACT is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to educate consumers on toxic chemicals present in everyday products.  We are particularly concerned about Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and their effects on young children and pregnant women.  We support the work that the EDSP has done and encourage Congress to continue funding this program.  As citizens and consumers we should all be concerned about how toxic chemicals are identified and regulated in this country.  It is this authors’ opinion that appointing a chemical industry proponent to regulate the chemical industry is counter productive to creating a safe, healthy environment for all to enjoy.