Endocrine Society Discusses Dangers of Endocrine Disruptors at EU Conference

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An Endocrine Society representative told the European Commission at a recent EU conference that more needs to be done to identify endocrine disruptors.

At a recent European Union (EU) conference on endocrine disruptors, R. Thomas Zoeller, PhD, an invited spokesperson for the Endocrine Society, called for more effective approaches to identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), as current approaches do not account for critical endocrine principles, according to a press release.

“Current regulatory practices, both in the EU and in the United States, treat EDCs similarly to other potential hazardous chemicals in the environment, but EDCs act in a very unique manner that current identification processes do not take into account,” Zoeller said.

“For example, very low levels of exposure to EDCs can have a significant impact on the body while higher levels of the same chemical may produce a different effect. Current identification processes that still adhere to the principle that the dose makes the poison will fail to recognize the threat these chemicals pose to public health.”

The conference was called so that the European Commission could inform EU member states, members of the European Parliament, countries from outside the EU and stakeholders about the impact assessment that the commission is carrying out on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in the context of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 and the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) 528/2012.

“It’s important for regulating agencies to understand that hormones control elements of development that are irreversible when disrupted,” Zoeller said. “We are facing a continuing pandemic of chronic disease if we do not act now.”

In 2009, the Endocrine Society released its scientific statement on EDCs that included a summary of the background justifying concern over the effects of EDC exposures on humans and wildlife.

Last year, the Endocrine Society and IPEN also released a new guide for public interest organizations and policymakers documenting the dangers of EDCs in order to raise global awareness.