How Research Can Inform Public Health Policies for Endocrine Disruptors
Despite incontrovertible evidence of the harmful effects of endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with the body’s hormone systems, a sound public health policy is still absent. In this Comment, the authors discuss the role of experimental research in the development of new regulations.
Endocrine disruptors are a class of chemicals that mimic, block or interfere with the production, metabolism or action of hormones in the body. Research has linked exposure to endocrine disruptors to adverse health outcomes such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, male and female reproductive disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, asthma and cancer. Because endocrine disruptors are ubiquitous in our environment, food and consumer products, they pose a threat to global health, but sound public health policy regarding the use of these chemicals is still absent. In this Comment, in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, “Endocrine disruptors — putting the mechanistic cart before the phenomenological horse,” Ana M. Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein discuss how current experimental research practices are hindering the development of public health policy. They conclude by providing advice on how researchers can adapt their approach to drive forward meaningful change to regulation and clinical practice.
By Alan Morris, Nature Reviews Endocrinology