A groundbreaking new paper outlines a safety testing system that helps chemists design inherently safer chemicals and processes. Resulting from a cross-disciplinary collaboration among scientists, the innovative “TiPED” testing system (Tiered Protocol for Endocrine Disruption) provides information for making chemicals and consumer products safer. TiPED can be applied at different phases of the chemical design process, and can steer companies away from inadvertently creating harmful products, and thus avoid adding another BPA or DDT to commerce.
The study, “Designing Endocrine Disruption Out of the Next Generation of Chemicals,” is online in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Green Chemistry.
The 23 authors are biologists, green chemists and others from North America and Europe who say that recent product recalls and bans reveal that neither product manufacturers nor the government have adequate tools for dealing with endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are chemicals commonly used in consumer products that can mimic hormones and lead to a host of modern day health epidemics including cancers, learning disabilities and immune system disorders. The authors conclude that as our understanding of the threat to human health grows, the need for an effective testing strategy for endocrine disrupting chemicals becomes imperative.
Historically, chemists have aimed to make products that are effective and economical. Considering toxicity when designing new chemicals has not been their responsibility. This collaboration between fields expands the scope of both biologists and chemists to lead to a way to design safer chemicals.
Scientific understanding of endocrine disruption has developed rapidly over the past 2 decades, providing detailed, mechanistic insights into the inherent hazards of chemicals. TiPED uses these insights to guide chemical design toward safer materials. And as consumers are increasingly concerned about endocrine disruption (eg BPA, flame retardants) they are demanding products that do not contain EDCs, creating a market opportunity for companies that can take advantage of the new science.
There is a companion website to the paper, www.TiPEDinfo.com. One can access the paper there and learn more about the TiPED system.