Endocrine Society Experts Concerned EU Chemical Criteria Will Not Protect Public

European Commission’s proposal ignores state of science on endocrine disruptors

Washington, DC – The European Commission’s narrow criteria for endocrine-disrupting chemicals will make it nearly impossible for scientists to meet the unrealistically high burden of proof and protect the public from dangerous chemicals, the Endocrine Society said in a response sent to the Commission.

More than 1,300 studies have found connections between endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) exposure and serious health conditions such as infertility, diabetes, obesity, hormone-related cancers and neurological disorders, according to the Endocrine Society’s 2015 Scientific Statement.

The European Union is the largest single economy with a regulation specific to EDCs. In order for it to be enforced, this regulation requires the European Commission to propose criteria to identify EDCs, similar to those used for the identification of carcinogens or other health hazards.

Endocrine Society Experts Concerned EU Chemical Criteria Will Not Protect Public, Endocrine Society, July 27, 2016.

Despite the body of evidence, the European Commission’s proposed criteria call for waiting until a chemical is known to cause adverse effects relevant to human health before taking action. Since it can take years or even generations for the health effects of EDCs to become apparent, this approach would allow chemicals to cause significant harm to populations before the chemicals could be regulated. When research shows that a given chemical is harmful to animals or human cells, that scientific evidence needs to be taken into account.

“The European Commission’s restrictive definition defeats the purpose of the regulations—to shield the public from endocrine-disrupting chemicals that pose a threat to human health,”

said Rémy Slama, PhD, a member of the Society’s European Union Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Task Force.

“By adopting these criteria, the Commission has set the European Union on a course to abandon the precautionary principle. Regulation of chemicals should err on the side of protecting the public and the environment from harm. Asking for an even stronger level of scientific evidence for endocrine disruptors than for carcinogens, for which the level of proof required is already very high, would be going in the wrong direction.”

The Society submitted a public comment responding to the European Commission’s criteria. As the oldest and largest global membership organization representing scientists and physicians who are experts on the body’s system of glands and hormones, the Society has been advocating on the European Union’s definition of EDCs since 2013.

EDCs can mimic, block or interfere with hormones that regulate key biological functions, including brain development, reproduction, metabolism and growth. Bisphenol A and other EDCs can be found in common products, including food containers, plastics, cosmetics and pesticides.

Failure to effectively regulate EDCs comes with a high price tag. Recent studies have found that adverse health effects from EDC exposure cost the European Union more than €163 billion each year in healthcare expenses and lost productivity.

The Society has supported a tiered regulatory approach that would rank EDCs based on available scientific evidence. As the European Parliament and member countries consider whether to implement the European Commission’s criteria, the Society will continue to advocate for criteria that reflect the state of the science

Endocrine Society Experts Urged EU to Protect Public from Chemical Exposure

Science-based regulation needed to address danger of endocrine-disrupting chemicals

Washington, DC – To protect human health, Endocrine Society members called on the European Commission to adopt science-based policies for regulating endocrine-disrupting chemicals in an opinion piece published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) mimic, block or interfere with the body’s hormones – the chemical signals that regulate brain development, reproduction, metabolism, growth and other important biological functions. EDCs can be found in common products including food containers, plastics, cosmetics and pesticides.

Endocrine Society Experts Urge EU to Protect Public from Chemical Exposure, The Endocrine Society, June 13, 2016.

Pool image Richard P J Lambert.

More than 1,300 studies have linked EDC exposure to health problems such as infertility, diabetes, obesity, hormone-related cancers and neurological disorders, according to the Endocrine Society’s 2015 Scientific Statement. Recent studies have found that adverse health effects from EDC exposure cost the European Union more than €157 billion each year in healthcare expenses and lost productivity.

“A growing body of research has found endocrine-disrupting chemicals pose a threat not only to those who are directly exposed, but to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,”
“We need to protect the public and future generations with regulations that address the latest scientific findings and incorporate new information from emerging research.”

said the Society’s European Union Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Task Force Co-Chair Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, MD, PhD, first author of the opinion piece, of the University of Liège in Liège, Belgium.

The European Commission has proposed four options for regulatory criteria identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The Endocrine Society supports option 3, which would create multiple categories based on the amount of scientific evidence that a particular chemical acts as an endocrine disruptor. This option also allows for incorporating new data as more studies are published.

In The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, the authors note that other options being considered either don’t define endocrine-disrupting chemicals as clearly or include problematic criteria. Option 4 uses potency – the amount of chemical exposure needed to produce an effect – as one criterion. Since EDCs can have different and more dangerous effects when an individual is exposed to low levels, measuring potency could cause regulators to overlook endocrine disruptors that pose a true threat.

“Because of the way hormones work, even low-level exposure can disrupt the way the body grows and develops,”
“Pregnant women, babies and children are particularly vulnerable, and science-based regulations are needed to protect them.”

Bourguignon said.

Science-based regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals in Europe: which approach?, the lancet, dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(16)30121-8
, 13 June 2016.

Other authors of the opinion piece include: Rémy Slama of Inserm, CNRS and University Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France; Åke Bergman of the Swedish Toxicology Sciences Research Center in Södertälje, Sweden; Barbara Demeneix of Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France; Richard Ivell of the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, U.K.; Andreas Kortenkamp of Brunel University London in Uxbridge, U.K.; GianCarlo Panzica of the University of Torino and Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi in Orbassano, Italy; Leonardo Trasande of New York University School of Medicine in New York, NY; and R. Thomas Zoeller of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.

Rémy Slama et les perturbateurs endocriniens

Jusqu’où doit-on interdire les perturbateurs endocriniens?

Film présenté dans l’espace Science Actualités à la Cité des sciences et de l’industrie jusqu’en avril 2015.

En savoir plus
  • Jusqu’où doit-on interdire les perturbateurs endocriniens? Ces substances, qui interfèrent avec notre système hormonal, sont en effet suspectées de poser de graves problèmes de santé publique: cancers hormono-dépendants (sein, prostate, testicule), infertilité, obésité… Y a-t-il urgence à trouver des produits de substitution?
    Entretien avec Rémy Slama, épidémiologiste (Inserm) et président du comité scientifique du Programme national de recherche sur les perturbateurs endocriniens.
  • Production : universcience.tv, Date de diffusion : 10/12/2014.

Pollution et perturbateurs endocriniens: quels risques?

Quels sont leurs effets des perturbateurs endocriniens sur la santé ? Quelles sont les méthodes de prévention ? Où en est la recherche dans ce domaine ?

Diverses études scientifiques ont établi un lien entre certaines pathologies et la présence de polluants dans le sang ou les urines. Une partie de ces polluants, les perturbateurs endocriniens, agissent sur le système hormonal et altèrent le fonctionnement de l’organisme d’un individu et de ses descendants.

Quels sont leurs effets sur la santé ?
Quelles sont les méthodes de prévention ?
Où en est la recherche dans ce domaine ?

Quelques corrections sur le contenu – de 19:19 à 23:05
  • La molécule de synthèse DES veut dire Di Ethyl Stylbestrol (et non pas distilbène).
    La molécule DES a été commercialisée par divers laboratoires de différents pays sous plus de 200 noms différents. “Distilbène” est juste le nom d’un médicament sous lequel le DES a été produit et vendu en France.
  • En 1971 la FDA s’est limité à contre-indiquer l’utilisation du DES chez les femmes enceintes. La FDA n’a jamais – et donc toujours pas – formellement interdit la substance…
  • Les multiples effets secondaires transgénérationnels du DES sont plus que “probables” et ne se limitent pas aux petits garçons… A ce jour les effets transmissibles du DES ont été prouvés jusqu’à la 3 ème génération, c’est à dire aux enfants et aux petits-enfants des femmes ayant consommé du DES pendant leur grossesse. Voir les résultats de l’étude 2013-2014 Réseau DES France
  • Sur ce, c’est l’intention qui compte, et je remercie vivement Rémy Slama d’avoir parlé du DES dans son exposé de conférence-débat. J’espère que le grand public et les médecins n’associent pas le Distilbène à de l’histoire passée… Tous comme ses “cousins moléculaires” – BPA et autres perturbateurs endocriniens – le DES a toujours des effets dévastateurs sur une vaste partie des enfants et progéniture à venir d’aujourd’hui.
  • Video publiée le 3 Déc 2014 par la chaine Inserm vidéos.
Le Distilbène DES, en savoir plus