A scientific session at the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Chicago spotlights the emerging field of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) and the opportunities for clinical labs to improve EDC measurements and human health. (34212) Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Children and Environmental Health—Emerging Opportunities for the Clinical Laboratory will take place on August 1 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. It’s worth 2.5 CE hours.

A broad spectrum of public health problems have been associated with EDCs, especially in the area of maternal fetal medicine, session moderator Roy Gerona, PhD, an assistant professor with the University of California San Francisco, told CLN Stat. Animal studies have shown that EDCs can interfere with various endocrine functions. Exposure to these chemicals has been associated with a number of different clinical endpoints, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, cancer, autism spectrum disorders, reproductive abnormalities, and developmental abnormalities in fetuses among others, Gerona said.

“One of the stronger pieces of evidence out there is the effect of phthalates on reproductive function. Significant work has been done to demonstrate that women exposed to phthalates are conceiving fetuses that have significantly shorter anogenital distance,” he said. What has yet to evolve is a definitive causal relationship between EDCs and clinical endpoints.

Gerona joins Linda Birnbaum, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, who will speak on ECDs in environmental health research, and Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, an associate professor with NYU Langone Health’s Department of Pediatrics, whose talk will focus on the public health threat of EDCs to children.

Gerona plans to discuss what clinical labs can offer in terms of measuring EDCs in biological samples. Clinical testing for EDCs has yet to develop, mainly because without any causal relationships, there’s not enough science to back it up, he observed. “Having said that, the larger issue is when you are working on epidemiological studies and measuring any number of small molecules in biological samples, you need labs familiar with developing and validating methods for those measurements —whether we develop causation or not,” Gerona said.

As scientists work toward developing evidence for EDC causal relationships, the science itself needs to be reliable. “Clinical labs can really help in that effort,” Gerona emphasized. Testing, harmonization of testing methods, and developing regulations that ensure testing methods’ accuracy, precision, and reliability are areas where the industry’s expertise could be very useful.

Learn more about this investigative area of science—register today for the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo July 29–August 2 in Chicago.