Superfund Research Program
Development and Application of Integrated In Vitro and Cell-Based Bioassays
Protecting human health from environmental hazard is necessary to understand how xenobiotics affect health. This project continues to used its EPA-approved cell bioassay system called the Estrogen Receptor-Chemically Activated Luciferase Expression (ER-CALUX) for the detection of compounds that interfere with a person's hormones in waterways but also on indoor dusts at kindergartens. This bioassay allows identification of chemicals that react with the estrogen receptor, but cannot individually identify the particular chemical. Nonetheless, this method was used on products labeled BPA-free and found that those products still leached the same or more chemicals possessing estrogenic activity as those that contained BPA. This evidence was provided to the collaborating Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in efforts to encourage the chemical and product manufacturing companies to reevaluate their processes and testing procedures. Separately, it was observed that exposure to xenobiotics increase cellular stresses, especially mitochondrial oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress, which have been associated with various chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, organ failure and Alzheimer. This project continues to obtain tools and knowledge to predict toxic effects from chronic exposure to low levels of xenobiotics.