For about a decade the term endocrine disruptor has become synon-ymous with a new research initiative that has been investigating the effects of hormonally active xenobiotics on biological systems. The scientific thesis be-hind the new research initiative is discussed and it is argued that there is a need for more emphasis on theory development and conceptual clarification that will give coherence to a field experiencing a rapid growth of empirical studies. Reflections on scientific methodology in this field will also help clarify whether endocrine disruptors symbolize a new etiology of chemically induced disease or represent variations of traditional chemical toxicology.
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