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OCTOBER 5, 1998    5:01 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: World Wildlife Fund
Lee Poston, 202-778-9536
 
World Wildlife Fund Urges Effective Implementation of Chemical Testing Plan; Effort is First Ever to Screen Chemicals’ Hormone Disrupting Potential
 
WASHINGTON - October 5 - World Wildlife Fund today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its leadership in developing a historic, consensus-based proposal on how best to screen and test thousands of man-made chemicals for their ability to cause reproductive and developmental problems in humans and wildlife. WWF now urges the agency to push for full implementation of the recommendations with complete funding and realistic criteria, procedures and priorities.

In recent years, evidence has grown that certain man-made compounds are linked to reproductive failures, immune system defects, neurological damage and other hormonal problems. EPA formed the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) two years ago to develop a proposal to prioritize and test more than 87,000 chemicals for their endocrine-disrupting potential. The proposal is now completed and will be submitted to the White House and Congress for approval and funding.

“For the first time since the post-war chemical revolution, the US government has formally launched a broad screening process to help protect humans and wildlife from some of the most dangerous chemicals on Earth,” said Dr. Theo Colborn, director of WWF’s Wildlife and Contaminants Program and co-author of ‘Our Stolen Future.’ “The challenge now is to find the resources to implement an effective program that will result in real protection for the public and for the world’s wildlife. Both the Clinton Administration, through its Children’s Health Initiative, and the Congress, which asked EPA to set up the screening program, must now agree to provide these resources.”

“This is a good start involving all stakeholders, but there is much more work to be done,” said Dr. Richard Liroff, WWF Senior Policy Analyst. “Every individual has the right to know how the chemicals to which they are exposed are affecting their health and the health of their children.”

In order for EPA to fulfill its mandate of implementing an effective screening and testing program by the fall of 1999, WWF urges the following actions take place in the next year:

Finding sufficient funding for what will be an expensive screening and testing program; Ensuring that the process of standardizing and validating screening and testing assays prior to use is realistic and prompt; Resolving the outstanding scientific questions, especially those on low-dose effects and prenatal exposure; Utilizing an automated, high throughput pre-screening process as the fastest and most efficient way to help prioritize which of the thousands of chemicals should be screened first.

WWF has just released a report -- Chemicals that Compromise Life: A Call to Action -- detailing the ‘state of the science’ on endocrine disruptors. For a copy of the report, call Lee Poston at 202-778-9536, or email lee.poston@wwfus.org.

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World Wildlife Fund, known worldwide by its panda logo, leads international efforts to save life on earth. Between now and the year 2000, WWF, through the Living Planet Campaign, will engage the global community to take bold action on behalf of the world’s wildlife and wild places.

 

 

 

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