A panel of academic, government and industry scientists has determined that there is "credible evidence" that some hormone-like chemicals can affect test animals' bodily functions at very low levels well below the "no effect" levels determined by traditional testing.
However, the panel reported that, in some cases, other credible studies failed to observe such low-dose effects and there is no obvious reason for the different outcomes.
The 36-member panel said the chemicals, called "environmental estrogens" and "endocrine disruptors" deserve greater scrutiny and additional research. Some of the hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, occur naturally. Other, chemically related substances are manufactured for packaging, plastics and other products of modern life.
The National Toxicology Program, which is headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., released the experts' draft report today for 60 days of comment by other scientists, industry and consumers before sending the advice to the Environmental Protection Agency, which had requested the panel review. The comments will not change the report but will be attached to it, Ronald Melnick, Ph.D., of NIEHS said. Dr. Melnick chaired the peer review organizing committee.
Because of years of controversy over some of the studies and their meaning, Dr. Melnick said the review has attracted attention from environmentalists, industry, as well as government and academic scientists worldwide.
Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., director of the NIEHS and NTP, said, "In a first for this kind of review, the panel was able to obtain the raw data from nearly all of the studies. Nearly 100 percent of the scientists were able to cooperate in this. This permitted a statistical reanalysis of the data, rather than merely a reliance on the conclusions of published papers.
"In fact, some of the dat
Contact: Bill Grigg
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences