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new EPA EDSTAC mail list
August 5, 1997
Here is a report on the Public Meeting July 15-16, 1997 in Chicago of the
Endocrine Disruptors Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC),
convened by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop
recommendations for EPA about how to screen and test chemicals for their
potential to disrupt hormone function in humans and wildlife. EDSTAC is a
committee established under the provisions of the Federal Committee
Advisory Act (FACA).
Recent legislation (the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act and the 1996
reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act) has mandated that such a
screening and testing program be developed by EPA. EPA is under statutory
deadline to present a screening and testing program to Congress by August,
1998. EDSTAC is chaired by Dr. Lynn Goldman, EPA Assistant Administrator
in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.
EDSTAC is meeting approximately every two months over the next year in
different U.S. cities. Their first public meeting was in December 1996 in
San Francisco; the second was in February 1997 in Houston; the third was in
April 1997 in Baltimore.
The EDSTAC is composed of approximately forty stakeholders drawn from
industry, academia, government agencies, and public interest and
environmental organizations. A full list of members is available from the
website (see below).
As background, it may be helpful to know that EDSTAC has broken out into
four work groups to manage specific pieces of its work. The four work
* Principles Work Group - defining parameters for how the work is performed.
* Priority Setting Work Group - what will be tested first?
* Screening and Testing Work Group - how to actually do the work;
"screens" are the first "rough cut" while "tests" zero in on more precise
* Communication & Outreach - how and when screening and testing results
will be communicated to the public.
LYNN GOLDMAN REAFFIRMS GOAL OF CONSENSUS DECISIONMAKING
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH WORK GROUP
Like the PSWG and the STWG, the Communication and Outreach Work Group
(COWG) presented ideas to the full EDSTAC plenary in Chicago for reaction
Communicating Screening And Testing Results
The COWG will draft recommendations for the final EDSTAC report to EPA
concerning the communication of screening and testing results to the
public. Each of the four decision points in the Conceptual Framework is a
potential opportunity to convey information to the public about the
1) What information should be communicated?
2) How should information be communicated?
3) To whom should information be communicated?
4) When should information be communicated?
In terms of serving the public interest, some feel that as much information
as possible should be communicated, including specific outreach and public
education about endocrine disruption. Language needs to be drafted which
clearly explains the screening and testing program to the public; and
describes the implications for chemicals which are undergoing screening and
testing, especially if they are testing positive.
At the same time, it is recognized that the logistics of sending out
updates on every chemical in the screening and testing program at every
decision point could quickly become unwieldy and confusing. Furthermore,
the costs of an extensive communication and outreach program by EPA may
dictate what is actually possible.
No decisions have yet been finalized about the method of distribution;
i.e., should EPA mail information to interested parties on a regular basis,
or should the information be available only by request from interested
In anticipation of EPA assuming ongoing responsibility for outreach and
communication to the public about the screening and testing program after
EDSTAC completes its work, EPA is building a database of organizations and
individuals who would like to be keep apprised of EPA's efforts to screen,
test, and regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals. An initial mailing is
planned in the near future.
One of the immediate tasks for the COWG is to identify constituencies which
may want to be regularly updated on both EDSTAC's work and the ongoing
efforts of EPA. To be added to the EPA database, members of the public or
representatives of organizations may contact Ms. Guynin Myers who will have
responsibility for maintaining the database. Her contact information is:
401 M Street S.W. (7502 C)
Washington DC 20460
703 305-5060 fax
(No phone calls please)
The COWG specifically asked for feedback from the entire EDSTAC membership
about whether conducting a series of focus groups about endocrine
disruption and the EDSTAC process would be useful. The idea was generated
because of the potential for significant impacts on certain impacted
constituencies. Focus groups would both educate the public and provide an
opportunity for the COWG to test messages and communication strategies.
The three identified constituencies for focus groups were environmental
justice organizations, disease-specific groups, and "downstream"
While many agreed that the idea of focus groups has merit, it was also made
plain that EPA will not have funding available to bring participants
together. Public interest representatives on EDSTAC commented that asking
groups on limited budgets to travel to Washington (or wherever) at their
own expense for focus groups would ultimately be unworkable, especially
given the timeline that EDSTAC envisions.
BRIEFING FROM OECD REPRESENTATIVE
Mr. Herman KoÃ«ter of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) observed the Chicago EDSTAC plenary, and briefed EDSTAC
membership on OECD activities relating to endocrine disruptors. Mr. KoÃ«ter
is the Principal Administrator for the Environmental Health and Safety
Division in OECD's Environment Directorate.
OECD is made up of 29 member countries. It is a member organization of the
International Organization for Sound Management of Chemicals, which was
formed in the aftermath of UNCED (the Earth Summit) in Rio. OECD is the
only non-UN member of this grouping, which also includes FAO, ILO, WHO,
UNEP, and UNIDO.
The three main areas of work for OECD in this area are:
1. Test Guideline Programs.
2. Harmonization of Classification and Labeling Systems.
3. Risk Assessment Programs.
OECD has generated a "Review Paper" which outlines proposals for how OECD
should conduct a screening and testing program for endocrine disrupting
chemicals. The paper has been circulated to all OECD member countries.
The paper can be downloaded from the OECD website, whose address is:
Mr. KoÃ«ter commented on patents, a subject which had come up during
EDSTAC's discussions. He said that OECD would never adopt a recommendation
using a patented test. It is OECD's position that any assay or test that
is recommended for use by OECD should be reasonably available in labs in
all member countries. KoÃ«ter said that patents are a huge issue in the
Mr. KoÃ«ter also said that in vitro assays tended to be problematic in the
OECD view because of validation problems. It was clear that evidence of
endocrine disruption from whole animal studies carried much more weight.
Thirty-four individuals gave public comments in Chicago. Commenters were
limited to four minutes each.
Several EDSTAC members commented that the quality of public comments was
the highest since the process has begun. Awareness about endocrine
disruptors has always been high in the Great Lakes region. In addition,
EPA Region 5 produced a day-long symposium on endocrine disrupting
chemicals in Chicago immediately prior to the EDSTAC plenary.
Public interest representatives again far outnumbered other constituencies.
For the second time since EDSTAC has begun to meet in Public Meetings,
some employees of industry provided public comments, accounting for about
one-sixth of the total.
Those providing comments (in no particular order) were the following.
Apologies for misspellings or omissions.
George Raab, Chicago Zoological Society and World Conservation Union
Mark Ritchie, Organic Buyers and Growers Association
Tracey Easthope, Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and Michigan Environmental
Mary Beth Doyle, Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and Michigan Environmental
Patricia Speth, farmer
Brett Hulsey, Sierra Club
Jackie Hunt Christensen, Health Care Without Harm
Joanna Hoelscher, Citizens for a Better Environment
Scott Sederstrom, Citizens for a Better Environment
Chuck Elkins, environmental consultant, Jellinek, Shcwartz, & Connelly
Ellen Kaufman, Endometriosis Association
Cecile-Marie Sastre, Endometriosis Association
Andrea Jackson, citizen
Nancy Erickson, Illinois Farm Bureau
Bernadette Ryan, IIT Research Institute
Sarah Janssen, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Coalition to Stop
Medical Waste Incineration
Mark Hulmer, Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
Jack Weinberg, Greenpeace
Charlie Cray, Greenpeace
David DeRosa, Greenpeace
Joe Di Gangi, Greenpeace
Rob Christie, FMC Corp.
Michael Murray, National Wildlife Federation
Barbara Alexander Mullarkey, Illinois Waste Network
Linda Roberts, Chevron
Penny Richard, horse rancher and Learning Disabilities Association
Marjorie Fisher, League of Women Voters
Lynn Lawson, MCS: Health and Environment
Jim Houston, International Joint Commission
Ed Gunderson, Stepan Co.
Angel Cohoon, pregnant mother
Bill Holland, Illinois Public Interest Research Group
Davis Baltz, Commonweal
NEXT STEPS AND TRACKING EDSTAC'S WORK
The next plenary meeting for EDSTAC will be October 7-8, 1997 in New York
City. Work Groups will continue to meet between now and then.
It is expected that the National Research Council will release their report
on endocrine disruptors in September 1997. Either by conference call or at
a future plenary, the EDSTAC membership will be briefed on the report.
An approximate timeline which will guide subsequent work by EDSTAC looks
something like this:
Aug.-Sept. 1997: work groups meet.
Oct. 1997: EDSTAC plenary in New York.
Nov. 1997: work groups meet.
Dec. 1997: possible EDSTAC plenary in Orlando if plenary session needed to
review work group output.
Feb. 1998: EDSTAC plenary in Washington to review and approve "Final
Draft" of EDSTAC report to EPA.
Mar.-Apr. 1998: SAB/SAP peer review. Public comment period.
June 1998: Final plenary session in Washington DC.
Aug. 1998: EPA presents proposed Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing
Program to U.S. Congress.
The EDSTAC process is being facilitated by The Keystone Center, a
non-profit with offices in Washington D.C. and Colorado. They have a
contract to conduct the facilitation for this committee.
The primary mechanism by which information is shared with the public is a
website at address:
For those without access to the Internet, The Keystone Center is
maintaining a list of stakeholders and will communicate developments as
The Keystone Center
PO Box 8606
Keystone CO 80435
EDSTAC documents are available from the EDSTAC Docket, located in the Toxic
Substances Control Act Public Docket Office at EPA in Washington (401 M St.
SW, Washington DC 20460). The telephone is 202 260-7099. The docket
number is OPPTS-42189. For members of the public visiting in person, there
will be no charge for the first 100 pages of information copied. For those
phoning in their requests for information, there will be a 15 cents per
This summary prepared by:
PO Box 316
Bolinas CA 94924
415 868-0970 or 510 845-9023 telephone
415 868-2230 fax