There is growing concern that environmental substances with a potential to modulate the hormonal system may have harmful effects on human health. Consequently, a new EU regulation names endocrine disrupting properties as one of the cut-off criteria for the approval of plant protection products, although it currently fails to provide specific science-based measures for the assessment of substances with such properties. Since specific measures are to be presented by the European Commission in 2013 the development of assessment and decision criteria is a key challenge concerning the implementation of this new EU regulation. Proposals of such decision criteria for substances with potential endocrine disrupting properties in human health risk assessment were developed by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and discussed at an expert workshop in November 2009. Under consideration of the requirements laid down within the new plant protection product legislation and the scientific discussions during the workshop, a conceptual framework on evaluation of substances for endocrine disrupting properties in a regulatory context is presented in this paper. Central aspects of the framework include assessment of adversity of effects, establishment of a mode/mechanism of action in animals, considerations concerning the relevance of effects to humans and two options for a regulatory decision.
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