Human exposure to synthetic endocrine disrupting chemicals (S-EDCs) is generally negligible as compared to natural compounds with higher or comparable endocrine activity. How to evaluate the risk of the S-EDCs?

Herman Autrup, Frank A. Barile, Sir Colin Berry, Bas J. Blaauboer, Alan Boobis, Herrmann Bolt, Christopher J. Borgert, Wolfgang Dekant, Daniel Dietrich, Jose L. Domingo, Gio Batta Gori, Helmut Greim, Jan Hengstler, Sam Kacew, Hans Marquardt, Olavi Pelkonen, Kai Savolainen, Pat Heslop-Harrison, Nico P. Vermeulen

Research output: Contribution to JournalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Theoretically, both synthetic endocrine disrupting chemicals (S-EDCs) and natural (exogenous and endogenous) endocrine disrupting chemicals (N-EDCs) can interact with endocrine receptors and disturb hormonal balance. However, compared to endogenous hormones, S-EDCs are only weak partial agonists with receptor affinities several orders of magnitude lower than S-EDCs. Thus, to elicit observable effects, S-EDCs require considerably higher concentrations to attain sufficient receptor occupancy or to displace natural hormones and other endogenous ligands. Significant exposures to exogenous N-EDCs may result from ingestion of foods such as soy-based diets, green tea and sweet mustard. While their potencies are lower as compared to natural endogenous hormones, they usually are considerably more potent than S-EDCs. Effects of exogenous N-EDCs on the endocrine system were observed at high dietary intakes. A causal relation between their mechanism of action and these effects is established and biologically plausible. In contrast, the assumption that the much lower human exposures to S-EDCs may induce observable endocrine effects is not plausible. Hence, it is not surprising that epidemiological studies searching for an association between S-EDC exposure and health effects have failed. Regarding testing for potential endocrine effects, a scientifically justified screen should use in vitro tests to compare potencies of S-EDCs with those of reference N-EDCs. When the potency of the S-EDC is similar or smaller than that of the N-EDC, further testing in laboratory animals and regulatory consequences are not warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100124
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalComputational Toxicology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Risk characterisation
  • Testing

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