The public and scientific concern that chemicals present in the human diet and the environment and their ability to disrupt the normal hormonal milieu in humans and wildlife have become a high-profile international issue. In 1998, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) convened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended a tiered testing approach for the evaluation of estrogen, androgen, and thyroid-related effects of some 87,000 commercial chemicals and environmental contaminants. The function of this committee concluded with its final report, and the further implementation of the recommended testing strategy has now been carried forward with the assistance of the Endocrine Disruptor Methods Validation Subcommittee. The function of this body is to provide advice to the EPA on scientific and technical issues related specifically to the conduct of studies required for the validation of assays proposed by the EDSTAC as part of the tiered screening program. The EDSTAC recommended and alternative screening batteries encompass four in vitro mammalian assays. The current methodologies and validation status of the proposed in vitro EDSTAC assays are discussed and consist of estrogen/androgen receptor binding, estrogen/androgen gene transactivation, and minced testis, and one alternate (placental aromatase) in vitro screening assay.
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