(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2009) Thirteen years after the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) ordered EPA to develop a screening process for endocrine disrupting chemicals, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a final list of chemicals to be included in Tier 1 testing for endocrine disrupting effects of pesticides in use. While the list has been reduced from the 73 chemicals announced two years ago, trials will begin this summer to determine human risk from some of the chemicals to which we are most commonly exposed.
“Endocrine disruptors can cause lifelong health problems, especially for children,” stated EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Gathering this information will help us work with communities and industry to protect Americans from harmful exposure.”
EPA’s recent announcement of these chemicals can be found on EPA’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) page. According to EPA, “The Agency deleted 6 chemicals from the draft list of 73 based upon recent information showing that the chemicals are no longer expected to be found in 3 exposure pathways.” To be included on the initial list, EPA established that chemicals need to be found in three of EPA’s four exposure pathways: food, drinking water, residential use, and occupational exposure. Azinphos-methyl and fenvalerate were removed from the draft list because all uses will have ended by 2012, when Tier 2 begins. Aldicarb, allethrin, dichlorvos, and methiocarb were removed because by that year, they will be found in fewer than three exposure pathways. Once EPA has tested the first 67, any remaining registered chemicals should be entered in the same review.
According to the EDSP manager, Linda Phillips, it will take about two years for EPA to generate full data for these chemicals, and then take another year to determine the effect each has on the endocrine system.
The pesticide industry, led by CropLife America, submitted a petition to EPA last summer that called EDSP “unnecessary and redundant,” given the current data requirements for pesticide toxicity. Of the result, CropLife’s president and CEO, Jay Vroom, said, “In arriving at this formal response, we worry EPA have not taken into account the unique aspects of pesticide regulatory requirements as they intersect with the overarching, new endocrine screening process.” Since then, however, Mr. Vroom has stated that he is “very confident our products will come through with flying colors,” and “If we do learn something about our products that raises a cause for concern, our industry will be at the table, ready and willing to step forward and take action to mitigate risk.”
A wide variety of pesticides, however, have been found to affect both human and animal hormone systems at low levels. For an overview of endocrine disruptors, view Beyond Pesticides’ article, “Pesticides that Disrupt Endocrine System Still Unregulated by EPA.”