Hazard vs risk: Peter Matthiessen on assessing environmental effects of endocrine disruptors

Credit: Jocelyn Wallace, CC BY-SA 2.0.

From the infamous bisphenol A (BPA) to feminized male fish, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDS) remain at the center of many controversies involving chemicals in consumer products. International efforts to address concerns over ecotoxicological effects from EDS include both risk- and hazard-based approaches to preventing adverse effects, depending on the country or intergovernmental agency. A recent SETAC Pellston workshop convened researchers from all over the world to advise on how regulators and policy makers can make science-based decisions when evaluating EDS. Workshop organizer and lead author Peter Matthiessen joins us to discuss the synthesis paper from the workshop, “Recommended approaches to the scientific evaluation of ecotoxicological hazards and risks of endocrine-active substances.” His article leads off the special series “Ecotoxicological Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Substances.” Access the full series in the March 2017 issue of IEAM.

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About the Guest

P Matthiessen photoDr Peter Matthiessen is an aquatic ecotoxicologist with over 45 years’ experience in this subject. Most of his career has been spent in various UK government institutes conducting research on the effects of pollutants on fish and invertebrates in the field, but he has also been self-employed as an independent consultant ecotoxicologist for the last 10 years. Since the mid-1980s, he has been deeply involved in the issue of endocrine disruption, and he has conducted extensive research on the masculinizing effects of organotins in mollusks and feminizing effects of estrogens in fish. More recently, he has been involved in research on pollution damage to the hormonal stress response in wild fish. He is an expert on the environmental risk assessment of chemicals and acts as an adviser to the UK Government (Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee – HSAC).  He also co-chairs the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Validation Management Group for Ecotoxicity Tests (VMG-eco). In the latter capacity, he has helped to develop a suite of new ecotoxicity tests diagnostic for certain endocrine disrupters, and written guidance for interpreting their mechanistic and apical results. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed book and journal articles and is also a SETAC Fellow.

Articles Referenced in this Podcast

Matthiessen P et al. 2017. Recommended approaches to the scientific evaluation of ecotoxicological hazards and risks of endocrine-active substances. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13: 267–279. doi:10.1002/ieam.1885

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