We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
On 30 September, the Commission launched the Endocrine Active Substances Information System (EASIS). This web-based application, developed by the JRC, allows searching and collecting results from different scientific studies on chemicals related to endocrine activity. The implementation of EASIS is part of the Community Strategy for Endocrine Disruptors.
Chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system can potentially have adverse effects on both humans and wildlife. A wide range of chemicals used in different products are under scrutiny for endocrine disrupting properties. Some have already been tested for their ability to interact with the endocrine system. However, the resulting data are stored in various databases, often incompatible with each other due to the different formats used. This restricts the ease with which regulatory, industry and academic stakeholders can access and use the information for assessing risks connected to endocrine activity. To address this issue, the Endocrine Active Substances Information System (EASIS) was created.
Endocrine Active Substances Information System (EASIS)
The system currently contains data on 513 substances collected from over 9 thousand studies covering in vitro and in vivo assays in different species, including some human data. These are substances to be found in, for example, plant protection and biocidal products, industrial chemicals, or pharmaceuticals. Even though most data relate to manufactured substances, data on naturally-occurring substances are also included. EASIS is based on the OECD Harmonised Templates (OHT), ensuring compatibility with major international data collection undertakings, for example as carried out under Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation. It builds on a previous database created by the Directorate-General for Environment and it will be regularly updated, also with information and data submitted by registered third parties.
The main aim of EASIS is to collect results from peer-reviewed studies, thereby complementing information available elsewhere, for example on the European Chemicals Agency' (ECHA) web portal which disseminates REACH registration data. In this way, EASIS will help to build a bridge between research communities, regulators and industry, by making information available for regulatory processes around the world. It can be used by Member States' regulatory agencies for data retrieval or as a data repository to support screening and assessment of potential endocrine disruptors.
The presence of a substance in EASIS does not mean it necessarily possesses endocrine activity or that it is an endocrine disruptor, since both positive and negative results are included. Moreover, only the application of scientifically sound criteria to the full evidence base can lead to a valid conclusion about any given substance with respect to its endocrine activity or its endocrine disrupting properties.
EASIS contributes to recent efforts to move towards a mechanistic-based approach to prediction of toxicity, capturing mode of action data along with adverse effect data in a structured knowledge base, facilitating the development of predictive pathway-based models for complex toxicity outcomes.