WASHINGTON – The Endocrine Society called for European regulators to ensure that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can be identified using practical, achievable scientific standards in detailed comments on a draft guidance document for implementing criteria for the identification of EDCs.
An EDC is a chemical or mixture of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects by interfering with hormones in the body. There are more than 85,000 manufactured chemicals, of which thousands may be EDCs. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are found in everyday products and throughout the environment.
The European Commission requested that the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) develop the guidance for implementing new criteria for regulating EDCs. While the two agencies offered a thoughtful and practical approach to regulation of EDCs, the Society’s experts noted several concerns in the draft guidance that need to be addressed to ensure EDCs posing a risk to public health can be identified.
The Endocrine Society encourages the authors of the guidance to ensure that regulatory agencies can identify chemicals that interfere with hormone action and define them as EDCs based on a realistic standard of scientific information, minimizing the potential for mischaracterization of harmful chemicals. The Society also asked for more clarify on situations where agencies may not have sufficient information to evaluate a chemical.
The Society called for broadening the scope of the guidance to incorporate all potential toxicity effects that are relevant to endocrine disruption. The current draft focuses on tests and endpoints for EDCs that mimic, block, or interfere with estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormones and the body’s production of steroids. However, chemicals can disrupt other endocrine pathways that depend on proper hormone function, such as metabolism. Disrupting these pathways can lead to adverse consequences such as weight gain and insulin resistance.
The Society encouraged regulatory agencies to review and update the guidance in the future as necessary to incorporate the latest scientific evidence on EDCs. The Society also highlighted problems in the thyroid section of the guidance recommending that regulators strengthen this section to ensure that this important and complex pathway is properly assessed.
Society experts will continue to provide input to the European Commission, EFSA and ECHA as they revise the guidance and European Union regulations. Science based regulations on EDCs are crucial to ensure a high level of health and environmental protection and protect the public from the harms due to EDC exposure.