There is considerable public, regulatory, and scientific concern regarding human exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which include compounds that directly modulate steroid hormone receptor pathways (estrogens, antiestrogens, androgens, antiandrogens) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonists, including 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and related compounds. Based on quantitative structure-activity relationships for both AhR and estrogen receptor (ER) agonists, the relative potency (RP) of individual compounds relative to a standard (e.g., TCDD and 17β-estradiol) have been determined for several receptor-mediated responses. Therefore, the TCDD or estrogenic equivalent (TEQ or EQ, respectively) of a mixture is defined as TEQ = Σ[T(i)] x RP(i) or EQ = Σ[E(i)] x RP(i), where T(i) and E(i) are concentrations of individual AhR or ER agonists in any mixture. This approach for risk assessment of endocrine-disrupting mixtures assumes that for each endocrine response pathway, the effects of individual compounds are essentially additive. This paper will critically examine the utility of the TEQ/EQ approach for risk assessment, the validity of the assumptions used for this approach, and the problems associated with comparing low dose exposures to xeno and natural (dietary) endocrine disrupters.
- Endocrine disrupters
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis