PUBLICATION | uncertainties in the environmental risk assessment of endocrine active substances

The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has published a report on the evaluation of the uncertainties of the environmental risk assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Titled “Substances of very high concern under REACH – an evaluation of uncertainties in the environmental risk assessment of endocrine active substances”; the project aimed to “identify the most relevant factors increasing the uncertainty of the environmental risk assessment (ERA) of endocrine active substances as compared to baseline toxicants.”

Data on endocrine effects of six model substances on fish and aquatic invertebrates was considered:

  1. bisphenol A
  2. 4-tert-octylphenol
  3. 17alpha ethinylestradiol
  4. prochloraz
  5. tributyltin
  6. triphenyltin

The report identified several major issues:

  • current assessment of EDCs is almost entirely limited to effects on the estrogen, androgen and thyroid ‘axes’ (‘EAT’)
    • effects on other endocrine modes of action are insufficiently covered
    • effects on invertebrates are insufficiently covered
  • the risk to wildlife is assessed from results in a few standard test species, and it is not known if the test species capture the risk for ‘all’ wildlife
  •  Uncertainty is increased by mixture effects.
  • Uncertainty may be increased if worst case exposure conditions coincide with sensitive developmental windows.

Further issues for consideration are:

  • the irreversibility of effects,
  • effects on the reproductive behaviour
  • effects with uncertain population relevance
  • low-dose effects

Download the report here

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