Health & Chemicals

Strategic Programs on Environmental Endocrine Disruptors '98 (SPEED '98) - Preface


Environmental pollution caused by exogenous endocrine disrupting chemicals, i.e. by chemicals that may interfere with the reproduction systems of humans and wildlife and cause malignant tumors, is potentially one of the most important environmental problems as contamination with such chemicals may result in the basic conditions for the survival of human and animal life being impaired, and the serious consequences for future generations are difficult to predict.

The Environment Agency set up an "Exogenous Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Task Force" (chaired by Tsuguyoshi Suzuki, former Director General of the National Institute for Environmental Studies) in March 1997. The task force assembled and organized scientific knowledge available to date from documents prepared in Japan and abroad, as well as from environmental monitoring surveys conducted in Japan, and studied the areas of investigations and research that had to be given top priority. In July the same year, the task force published an interim report.

Since then, the Agency has been supporting domestic research activities by inviting foreign researchers to Japan and takes part in international activities by sending researchers to the Joint Working Group on Endocrine Disrupters Testing and Assessment (EDTA) sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Agency has also been speeding up efforts to develop specific programs to inaugurate comprehensive investigations and researches in fiscal 1998 and later.

In this document, the Agency has set forth its basic position toward exogenous endocrine disrupting chemicals and its specific approaches to the problem. The document also contains a summary of the scientific knowledge on which the Agency's approach is based. In compiling this document, the Agency received invaluable advice and suggestions from the members of the task force.

The Agency intends to promote various surveys and researches to work out the appropriate administrative measures, and continue to provide the public with accurate and timely information and scientific knowledge for a better understanding of the problem.

May 1998
Environmental Health and Safety Division,
Environmental Health Department
Japan Environment Agency

Members of the Exogenous Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Task force

Tsuguyoshi Suzuki
Former Director General of the National Institute for Environmental Studies (Chair)
Taisen Iguchi
Professor at Yokohama City University
Tohru Inoue
Biological Safety Research Center at the National Institute of Health Sciences
Yasuyuki Oshima
Director General of Japan Wildlife Research Center
Kiwawo Kadokami
Kitakyushu City Institute of Environmental Sciences
Fujio Kayama
Associate Professor at Jichi Medical School
Chisato Mori
Associate Professor at Kyoto University
Masatoshi Morita
Researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Regional Environmental Division
Naoto Yamaguchi
The National Cancer Center
Junzo Yonemoto
Researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Regional Environmental Division
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