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An approach to assessment of endocrine disruption in the National Children's Study.

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In this article we consider the importance of assessing endocrine disruption in a large new cohort that has been proposed, the National Children's Study (NCS). We briefly review evidence that endocrine disruption is a potentially important hypothesis for human studies and weigh the need to assess endocrine disruption in the NCS. We note the salient features of earlier, similar cohort studies that serve as reference points for the design of the NCS. Finally, we discuss features of the NCS that would allow or enhance assessment of endocrine disruption, even if endocrine disruption were not a primary hypothesis motivating the study. At this time, the evidence supporting endocrine disruption in humans with background-level exposures is not strong. Thus, a compelling rationale for the NCS will probably need to be based on core hypotheses that focus on other issues. Nonetheless, if properly designed, the NCS could serve as an excellent resource for investigating future hypotheses regarding endocrine disruption.

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