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Pure Appl. Chem., 2003, Vol. 75, No. 11-12, pp. 2593-2604

Endocrine active substances and the need to improve environmental protection: An environmentalist's perspective

G. Lyons

World Wildlife Fund European Program, 17 The Avenues, Norwich NR2 3PH, UK

This paper reviews the existing concerns and presents conclusions and recommendations for action.
The first section outlines an environmentalist's perspective and predicts that endocrine active substances (EASs) pose a high risk for wildlife populations. The second section explains that risk assessment, as currently practiced for individual chemicals, does not adequately protect the environment, and suggests several improvements that should be made. However, it is argued that the properties of endocrine disruption lead to increased uncertainty in the risk assessment, such that countries wishing to achieve a high level of protection would be justified in implementing precautionary controls.
The third section outlines some conclusions and additionally provides an appraisal of the responses of governments and industry. Furthermore, several recommendations are made, particularly the imperative for research funding to be substantially increased and guaranteed for many years to come. Also highlighted is the need to hasten the development of screens and tests for ecotoxicity, and for governments to commit to a comprehensive sorting, screening, and toxicity testing program for all chemicals to which significant exposure occurs.