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Development of test methods for the detection and characteristation of endorcrine disrupting chemicals in environmental species.

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New identity criteria for chemicals causing hormone imbalance

An EU project has researched into validation of new tests for environmental hazards of endocrine disruptors (EDs), helping to supply regulatory policymakers with the tools they need.

Climate Change and Environment

Due to chemical interference in endocrine glands, EDs can impact on all functions in vertebrates causing development problems, deformations and cancerous tumours. Major research programmes have been put in place to investigate endocrine disruption leading to the development and validation of new test methods to gauge the potential of chemicals to act as EDs. National regulatory authorities from Europe and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have agreed to validate newly developed test methods. The overall aim was to generate mutual acceptance of data collected to develop new OECD guidelines for potential ED detection and characterisation. The objectives of the EU-funded Testmetedeco project were to facilitate the development of a new set of test methods. Project scientists worked in the realm of wildlife species in Europe, Japan and the United States to establish that end-points in the tests were relevant and reliable. Overall, the project planned innovative work on ecotoxicity using biomarker proteins for diagnosing hazards. Testmetedeco focused on fish life-cycle testing and measured vitellogenin in the partial life-cycle test which controls sex ratio of juvenile fish. To represent amphibians, frog metamorphosis and ED effects on the thyroid were studied. Further up the evolutionary tree, development and reproduction tests were carried out on Daphnia in freshwater and copepods as a marine water species. At OECD level, the project coordinated at all stages of test development and validation. A report was produced on progress on validation for the Endocrine Disrupters Testing and Assessment (EDTA) task force of the OECD and Validation Management Groups (VMG-eco) for ecotoxicity tests. The project consortium ensured dissemination of project outcomes to all stakeholders through relevant channels including conferences, workshops, expert and OECD meetings and associated websites. Testmetedeco has supplied data and reports to help assess ED hazards to the environment and human health. Moreover, in a dynamic situation, the project has provided instruments for regulation.

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