Issue Date: December 19, 2011
EPA To Overhaul Endocrine Screening
EPA has released a new plan to speed up the screening of chemicals for their effects on hormonal systems under its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. Called EDSP21, the plan calls for integrating high-throughput (HTP) in vitro assays with computational methods to assess the potential toxicity of hundreds of chemicals, including dozens of pesticides and drinking-water contaminants. EDSP21 relies on advances in computational modeling, molecular biology, toxicology, and robotics. The plan will allow EPA to “prioritize and screen chemicals with greater speed, efficiency, and accuracy, while minimizing the use of laboratory animals,” the agency said in a statement. The new tools will be phased in over the next several years as they undergo further development and validation. In the near term, EPA plans to use existing data, computational models, and HTP in vitro assays to prioritize which pesticides and other chemicals it will screen. In the next two to five years, EPA plans to use validated HTP in vitro assays instead of the currently used in vitro screening tests. In the long term, EPA will consider using validated HTP in vitro assays to replace all in vivo screening assays, eliminating all animal tests for screening purposes.
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