Weight of evidence approaches for the identification of endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals: Review and recommendations for EU regulatory application
A Weight-of-evidence (WoE) evaluation should be applied in assessing all the available data for the identification of endocrine disrupting (ED) properties of chemicals. The European Commission draft acts specifying criteria under the biocidal products and plant protection products regulations require that WoE is implemented for the assessment of such products. However, only some general considerations and principles of how a WoE should be conducted are provided. This paper reviews WoE approaches to distil key recommendations specifically for the evaluation of potential ED properties of chemicals. In a manner, which is consistent with existing, published WoE frameworks, the WoE evaluation of ED properties can be divided into four phases: 1) Definition of causal questions and data gathering and selection, 2) Review of individual studies, 3) Data integration and evaluation, and 4) Drawing conclusions based on inferences. Recommendations are made on how to conduct each phase robustly and transparently to help guide the WoE evaluation of potential endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals within a European regulatory context.