SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
16 January 2014
Volume 15 Issue 1
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SETAC North America Focused Topic Meeting on Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Testing, Risk Assessment Approaches and Implications

Mary Ann Ottinger, University of Houston

There has been considerable effort and resources directed at developing and testing the Tier 1 battery of screens for the detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as part of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP).  A Focused Topic Meeting will be held on 4–6 February 2014 at USEPA facilities in Research Triangle Park, N.C., to present and discuss developments and advancements on testing and risk assessment approaches to evaluating the potential risks of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment with focus on USEPA’s EDSP. Lessons learned and weight-of-evidence approaches used in the hazard assessment will be discussed, while working through examples using the results of the entire Tier 1 battery of screening tests. In addition, the Tier 2 battery of tests is nearing the final stages of validation and will be implemented in the course of 2014. Strengths and weaknesses of these assays will be presented, and the findings from the series of Science Advisory Panel (SAP) meetings held by the USEPA in 2013 will be discussed. Perspectives will be shared on hazard assessment versus risk assessment using case studies and how the approaches compare between North America, Europe, Japan and elsewhere in the world. Regulatory approaches will be discussed within the context of our improved understanding of EDCs, and advancements in risk assessment methodology. Challenges such as non-monotonic dose-response curves will be considered. Following this discussion, the attendees will develop a formal SETAC statement on the use of hazard versus risk when evaluating EDCs. Attention will also be given to "forward-looking" topics including emerging targets of endocrine disruption and pathway-based tools for screening and testing. This meeting provides an important continuation of the discussion begun at the 6th SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium on Endocrine Testing and Evaluation, which focused primarily on EU legislation and was organized along similar lines in Brussels in October 2012. Publications will be prepared both pre- and post-meeting that will make the outcome of the meeting accessible to SETAC members and the broader scientific community. Visit the website at endocrine.setac.org.

The meeting will cover key topics organized into sessions that will occur over two days as summarized below. Moreover, five students were selected to receive a student travel award to help cover their cost of registration, travel and housing for the meeting. 

Session 1.  Introductory Session:  Setting the Stage
Session 1 will focus on the current regulatory and testing frameworks for endocrine disrupting compounds in the U.S., E.U. and elsewhere. Presentations in this session will:

  1. Summarize the current issues surrounding EDCs, such as definitions, testing, and weight of evidence
  2. Provide a history of the EDC screening and testing programs in the U.S. and E.U.
  3. Provide an introduction to the USEPA's EDSP, including a description of the Tier 1 and 2 testing schemes and their current status

Session 2.  Where We Have Been:  Data Interpretation and Lessons Learned from Tier 1 Testing
Session 2 will focus on the lessons learned from the EPA EDSP Tier 1 testing. Presentations in this session will discuss:

  1. Practical experience with Tier 1 testing, including the challenges faced in implementation and integration of Tier 1 tests and the outcome of the USEPA SAP
  2. The OECD perspective on EDC testing, including the tiered framework proposed by OECD with a consideration of international harmonization
  3. Weight-of-evidence approaches using Tier 1 data sets
  4. A U.S. regulatory perspective on criteria for interpreting Tier 1 data

In addition, a lunch-time speaker will provide a broad introduction to how weight-of-evidence approaches are used in hazard assessment.

Session 3.  Where We Are Now:  Tier 2 Testing
Session 3 will focus on the current state of the science for USEPA EDSP Tier 2 testing. Presentations in this session will discuss:

  1. The strengths and weaknesses of the Tier 2 assays
  2. Provide a CRO and industry perspective on Tier 2 testing

In addition, there will be an interactive panel discussion that considers when it is necessary to move to USEPA’s EDSP Tier 2 testing.

Session 4.  Where We Are Now:  Hazard versus Risk
Session 4 will focus on a comparison of hazard assessment in relation to risk assessment for the evaluation of EDCs. Presentations in this session will summarize:

  1. The differences in the approaches of evaluating EDCs at various U.S. agencies
  2. Case studies of hazard versus risk assessments for an agricultural, pharmaceutical and industrial chemical
  3. How our improved understanding of EDCs and advancements in risk assessment methodology could change the current regulatory framework.

In addition, there will be an interactive discussion with audience members that will result in the generation of a formal meeting statement on the use of hazard versus risk assessment for evaluating EDCs.

Session 5.  Where Do We Go from Here:  Challenges and the Future of EDC Testing
Session 5 will focus on current challenges and future approaches to EDC testing. Presentations in this session will discuss:

  1. The development of new approaches to evaluating EDCs using computational toxicology, in silico, and epigenetic methods
  2. Non-monotonic dose-response and linear no-threshold dose-response relationships for EDCs. 

In addition, there will be a final interactive discussion with the audience and summary of the main points discussed during the meeting and identification of future steps to advance the field.

The meeting will provide ample time for authors to discuss their work on research related to the theme of the meeting. Posters will also be presented that will focus on new research, modeling, exposure assessment, and fate and effects assessments related to endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Who Will Benefit From This Meeting?

  1. Environmental scientists from business, government and academia working in the fields of registration, risk assessment and research
  2. Contract research organizations and consultants offering services related to the hazard and risk assessment of endocrine disrupters

 Why Attend?

  1. To obtain current information on the regulations being enacted to control endocrine disrupters
  2. To obtain a detailed briefing on the methods used to assess the hazards of EDCs and their potential risks
  3. To contribute questions to and learn from panel discussions with the speakers
  4. To be part of a great networking opportunity for face-to-face dialogue with experts

Register by 24 January! Online registration is required. There will be no onsite registration due to space constraints.

Author's contact information: maotting@central.uh.edu

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