Unborn children better protected against endocrine disruptors

In order to ensure that chemicals are classified and labelled properly, it is important that manufacturers test the chemicals for possible health effects. As the volume that is produced of a chemical increases, the testing requirements within the EU chemical legislation, REACH, become more stringent.

Further protection against endocrine disrupting effects

The OECD’s Test Guideline Programme, TGP, develops internationally recognized standard test methods for safety testing of chemicals. Senior researcher Sofie Christiansen from the National Food Institute has been one of TGP’s two national coordinators in Denmark since 2010, while the other coordinator is a staff member from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

In the last few years, Sofie Christiansen has been in charge of work under the auspices of TGP aimed at improving test guideline number 414, which investigates birth defects in rat fetuses caused by chemical exposure. Behind the improvements are many years of research at the National Food Institute, work that has been important for the OECD’s acceptance of the changes.

The OECD adopted the improved guideline during spring 2018 and published it on their website in the summer of 2018. The test now includes an examination of the distance between anus and genitals (anogenital distance) and a more thorough study of genital deformities in the fetuses as well as the mothers’ thyroid hormones.

As such, the test detects more endocrine disrupting substances, thereby providing more knowledge about possible endocrine disrupting effects without using more test animals than is already required.

Nordic cooperation

In the work on test guideline number 414, Denmark has received input from colleagues in the other Nordic countries. By joining forces, the Nordic countries can influence the international chemicals legislation to some extent, which otherwise would have been difficult for small countries to achieve on their own.

Both the Nordic Chemical Group under the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency have supported the revision of test guideline 414 (Prenatal Development Toxicity Study).