†These authors contributed equally to this work.
2. Toxicological Advisory Services, Müllheim, Germany.
Background: Substances with endocrine disrupting properties are under special consideration in European Union regulations. In 2014 the European Commission published a roadmap which presented four possible options for identifying endocrine disruptors (ED). A further option was proposed by the chemical and crop protection industry.
Methods: This case study investigated how natural substances (genistein, caffeine, vitamin D3, sucrose) would possibly be classified under these different options when the focus is on EATS (estrogenic, androgenic, thyroid and steroidogenic) mediated effects on basis of published data.
Results: For sucrose no evidence for endocrine disrupting activity could be identified. The phytoestrogen genistein as well as caffeine would possibly be classified as ED, but caffeine only if potency is not regarded. Vitamin D3 does not elicit EATS mediated adverse effects in vivo.
Conclusion: This screening approach reveals that substances for which safe use in humans is known from decades of experience might possibly be classified as endocrine disruptors with yet unknown regulatory consequences. The examples show that additional criteria beyond the WHO/IPCS definition for ED might be critical for the final classification of a substance as ED.
Keywords: Endocrine disruptors, natural substances, classification criteria, screening, caffeine, sucrose, genistein, vitamin D3