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Keywords:

  • animal testing;
  • EDSP;
  • endocrine disruptors;
  • Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program;
  • Other Scientifically Relevant Information;
  • OSRI;
  • pesticides

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) currently relies on an initial screening battery (Tier 1) consisting of five in vitro and six in vivo assays to evaluate a chemical's potential to interact with the endocrine system. Chemical companies may request test waivers based on Other Scientifically Relevant Information (OSRI) that is functionally equivalent to data gathered in the screening battery or that provides information on a potential endocrine effect. Respondents for 47 of the first 67 chemicals evaluated in the EDSP submitted OSRI in lieu of some or all Tier 1 tests, seeking 412 waivers, of which EPA granted only 93. For 20 of the 47 chemicals, EPA denied all OSRI and required the entire Tier 1 battery. Often, the OSRI accepted was either identical to data generated by the Tier 1 assay or indicated a positive result. Although identified as potential sources of OSRI in EPA guidance, Part 158 guideline studies for pesticide registration were seldom accepted by EPA. The 93 waivers reduced animal use by at least 3325 animals. We estimate 27,731 animals were used in the actual Tier 1 tests, with additional animals being used in preparation for testing. Even with EPA's shift toward applying 21st-century toxicology tools to screening of endocrine disruptors in the future, acceptance of OSRI will remain a primary means for avoiding duplicative testing and reducing use of animals in the EDSP. Therefore, it is essential that EPA develop a consistent and transparent basis for accepting OSRI.