Scientists Say to EPA Include Women in Reproductive Health Research
Scientists are to meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to request important changes be made in guidelines for reproductive health
A team of Northwestern University scientists will meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators in Washington D.C. on Oct. 18, 2012, to advocate for important changes in the agency's guidelines for reproductive health research.
"The problem is current research assessing
the risk of toxins on reproductive health
is not being uniformly investigated
in both sexes and across the lifespan,"
Program Director, Oncofertility Consortium,
Timmerman will be one of the scientists meeting
with the EPA to review reproductive health guidelines
which have not been updated since 1996 and need
to be revised to reflect current research findings.
The Northwestern team will ask the EPA to expand
the definition of reproductive health beyond
pregnancy to include the lifespan of an individual.
"Reproductive health is important across the
entire lifespan because your endocrine system
affects your bone health, cardiovascular health
and other systems in the body."
Endocrine disrupters, sometimes triggered by
environmental factors, can lead to increased risk
for stroke and heart attack as well as osteoporosis.
The Northwestern scientists also will request that all EPA-sponsored research require appropriate testing in both sexes. Currently many toxicity studies are only conducted in male animal models with the assumption that females are affected the same way, but that isn't necessarily true.
"What happens now is if researchers don't see an effect in males, they won't look in females. But we know certain toxins in the environment can have a significant effect on females and not males and vice versa."
Timmerman and colleagues will present this white paper to the EPA on how to improve and update the guidelines: http://www.woodrufflab.org/sites/default/files/EPAWhitePaper.pdf
In addition to Timmerman, other Northwestern scientists meeting with the EPA include Kimberly Gray, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; Mary Ellen Pavone, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital; and Francesca Duncan, reproductive scientist/research associate in the lab of Teresa Woodruff, chief of fertility preservation at the Feinberg School and director of the Oncofertility Consortium.
Original article: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/nu-ste101612.php