Innovation in regulatory approaches for endocrine disrupting chemicals: The journey to risk assessment modernization in Canada

2021-10-16

Globally, regulatory authorities grapple with the challenge of assessing the hazards and risks to human and ecosystem health that may result from exposure to chemicals that disrupt the normal functioning of endocrine systems. Rapidly increasing number of chemicals in commerce, coupled with the reliance on traditional, costly animal experiments – often with limited sensitivity to many important mechanisms of endocrine disruption,- for hazard characterization, presents ongoing challenges for chemical regulation. The consequence is a limited number of chemicals for which there is sufficient data to assess if there is endocrine toxicity and hence few chemicals with thorough hazard characterization. To address this challenge, regulatory assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is benefiting from a revolution in toxicology that focuses on New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) to more rapidly identify, prioritize, and assess the potential risks from exposure to chemicals using novel, more efficient, and more mechanistically driven methodologies and tools. Incorporated into the Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA) and guided by conceptual frameworks such as Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs), emerging approaches focus initially on molecular interactions between the test chemical and potentially vulnerable biological systems instead of the need for animal toxicity data. These new toxicity testing methods can be complemented with in silico and computational toxicology approaches, including those that predict chemical kinetics. Coupled with exposure data, these will inform risk-based decision-making approaches. Canada is part of a global network collaborating on building confidence in the use of NAMs for regulatory assessment of EDCs. Herein, we review the current approaches to EDC regulation globally (mainly from the perspective of human health), and provide a perspective on how the advances for regulatory testing and assessment can be applied and discuss the promises and challenges faced in adopting these novel approaches to minimize risks due to EDC exposure in Canada, and our world.

Authors: T S Barton-Maclaren, M Wade, N Basu, S Bayen, J Grundy, V Marlatt, R Moore, L Parent, J Parrott, P Grigorova, J Pinsonnault-Cooper, V S Langlois
; Full Source: Environmental research 2021 Oct 16;112225. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.112225.