Washington, DC – Earlier this week, Member States of the European Union voted in favor of draft criteria to define endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The Endocrine Society is extremely concerned that the criteria will fail to identify EDCs that are currently causing human harm and will not secure a high level of health and environmental protection.
The world’s largest organization of endocrinologists is therefore urging the European Parliament to improve transparency surrounding the process for implementing the criteria and to engage endocrine scientists in further decision-making steps.
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. EDCs are found in everyday products and throughout the environment.
The criteria on EDCs cannot be called science-based as it contains arbitrary exemptions for chemicals specifically designed to disrupt target insect endocrine systems that have similarities in humans and wildlife. Earlier, the Endocrine Society, the European Society for Endocrinology, and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology released a statement strongly objecting to the addition of loopholes in the criteria as they create frameworks where potentially dangerous chemicals cannot be defined as EDCs by law.
The three societies urge Member States to work towards improved criteria for the identification of EDCs by incorporating the following recommendations:
- Removing the exemption for biocides and pesticides designed to act on endocrine systems;
- Adhering to a science-based definition of EDCs that include categories for known EDCs and chemicals for which more information is needed to make a determination; and
- Maintaining a hazard-based identification system without derogations based on risk.
The European Parliament will vote on the criteria in the coming months, and we encourage the Parliament to gather input from endocrine scientists and professional endocrine associations during their deliberations. Further details regarding the implementation of the criteria still need to be worked out, and we call for transparency on how the contributions from endocrine scientists will be given due consideration in the process by EFSA, ECHA, and the European Commission.
Image credit Sarah-Jane.
- The Manufacture of a Lie.
- A Denial of the State of the Science.
- The Interference of the United States.
- The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.
- Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: 2nd Endocrine Society Scientific Statement, 2015.
- Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: 1st Endocrine Society Scientific Statement, 2009.
- Watch our DES and EDCs research gallery on Flickr.
- Watch our EDCs video playlist on YouTube.