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DES Info: Scientists Offer Help to FDA and EPA for Safety Testing of Chemicals…..

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DES Info: Scientists Offer Help to FDA and EPA for Safety Testing of Chemicals…..So Far The Agencies Show No Interest


Federal regulators, those with the responsibility of protecting the health of Americans, have their hands full with an estimated 45-million chemicals available for commercial use.


But most have not been subjected to rigorous safety scrutiny.

However, Washington State University Professor of Molecular Biology Patricia Hunt, Ph.D., stepped up to offer help. In an open letter published in the March 4, 2011, issue of the Journal Science, she spoke for scientific organizations representing 40,000 concerned researchers and clinicians willing to provide, “appropriate individuals to serve on panels to review and evaluate current programs for effectiveness, to assess the risk of specific chemicals through the evaluation of data, and to develop new testing guidelines and protocols.”


According to Hunt, of particular concern are those chemicals with “hormone-like actions.” In an interview on the Public Radio International show, Living on Earth, which aired March 11, 2011, Hunt told host Bruce Gellerman about current concerns with bisphenol A (BPA) that is used in many plastics and resins that line food and beverage containers. Hunt said, “In the case of something like BPA we have essentially run this experiment in humans before, because DES exposure was that — an experiment in humans…. There are fertility effects and increased cancer rates in those who were exposed to DES. And so we have every reason to suspect that some of these same effects would be seen from chemicals like bisphenol A, the phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals.”

Hunt’s letter to the FDA and EPA stresses that, “the need for swifter and sounder testing and review procedures cannot be overstated,” as we learn more about “direct links between exposures that occur during fetal development and adult disease.”


The scientists are willing to put their expertise to use by the FDA and EPA to “help ensure that the most up-to-date scientific methodology and scientific understanding are used when devising and refining regulatory guidelines” for making risk assessment decisions.


And the response to this important offer? Not a word. The DES community heard that no one guidelines” for making risk assessment decisions.


Former Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown wrote to the FDA regarding DES. In February 2011, US Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and US Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) received a 3-page response from the FDA, per their joint letter about a DES apology. The FDA's letter did not contain an official apology from the federal government for the DES drug disaster.


However, it acknowledged the devastating health consequences of DES, explained FDA initiatives to prevent future drug disasters, and talked about DES as a "tragedy."

The FDA closed the letter by writing, "We hope that our new tools for identifying, monitoring and mitigating drug risks will prevent other tragedies like those brought out by the widespread use of DES. We are committed to providing the public with timely and accurate drug safety information and we recognize the critical responsibility that the FDA has to protect the safety of the public’s health."


The DES Community needs to continue to push for an apology and accountability for The DES Tragedy along with research and education for health care professionals


DES Info411@gmail.com

Karen M. Fernandes
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