Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

During recent years, the issue of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) has received increasing attention by endocrine researchers, regulatory authorities as well as public and political bodies. The level of interest generated indicates the need to increase awareness and scientific information available on EDCs.

To this end, ESE has established the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Working Group to increase visibility of EDCs through the inclusion of this topic in ESE-supported conferences, workshops, training courses and other educational activities.

ESE's key recommendations towards a less toxic EU environment to the benefit of human and animal health.

The EDC Working Group has compiled all their scientific knowledge in the field of EDCs to produce a concise Recommendations Report (dated October 2020) aspiring to contribute to more science based policy at the EU level. Read the recommendations here

ESE provides input to the European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

On 20 June 2020, ESE submitted its input on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. This EU Strategy is one of the cornerstones of the ongoing European Commission’s work to build a healthier and more resilient EU society. Read the ESE Submission.

The ESE input to the Chemicals Strategy primarily focused around Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). Also, this response was coordinated by the ESE EDC Working Group, chaired by Prof Josef Köhrle (Charité, Berlin, Germany). This input is very relevant also in times of COVID 19. There is increasing evidence that EDCs increase the prevalence of diseases that cause underlying conditions like obesity and diabetes, that result in higher susceptibility to COVID 19.

Increased attention needs to be given to consistent definitions, criteria and identification data requirements for EDCs across all EU related legislations. Additionally, new guidelines are needed for the burden of proof required for an EDC to be classified as such. And coordinated funding for independent research is a prerequisite to obtain impartial insights in the impact of EDCs.

ESE continues to provide expert input in the EU consultations. After the EDC’s Fitness Test earlier this year, ESE also provide expert opinions on the consultation rounds related to Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.  

Endocrine experts united in disappointment with European Commission's proposed criteria on EDCs

In June 2017, the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) co-signed a joint letter with the Endocrine Society (ES) and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) to the European Commission expressing concern with the proposed criteria for the identification of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs).

The letter, sent to 75 European Health, Agriculture and Environment Ministers, outlines the key issues with these criteria; that they will likely fail to identify harmful EDCs, will fail to ensure a high level of health and environment protection, and that arbitrary exemptions will allow harmful chemicals to escape classification as EDCs.

Through this letter, ESE, ESPE and ES united in criticising the failure to base these criteria on coherent scientific reasoning and in recommending that EU member states improve these accordingly.

Click here to read more:  https://www.endocrine.org/news-room/current-press-releases/endocrine-experts-united-in-disappointment-with-european-commissions-proposed-criteria-on-edcs

On Thursday 28 September 2017, The European Parliament’s environment (ENVI) committee objected to the Commission’s proposed criteria for endocrine disruptors.

The European Society of Endocrinology, along with ES and ESPE, welcomed the objection proposed by MEPs Jytte Guteland and Bas Eickhout, which was approved by 389 votes to 235, with 70 abstentions, producing the absolute majority needed to block the proposal. The proposal will therefore need to be revised and resubmitted, taking into account the concerns raised.

Public Consultation on draft guidance document for identifying endocrine disruptors under EU legislation for pesticides and biocides

In December 2017, on request of the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) invited interested parties to comment on a draft guidance document for identifying endocrine disruptors under EU legislation for pesticides and biocides.

The European Society of Endocrinology and the ESE EDC Working Group have prepared and submitted a formal response to the guidance document as part of this consultation (see related documents below).

ESE statement responding to the latest Endocrine Commission communication statement on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the NGO health community disapprove of the latest European Commission (EC) communication on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and call for a comprehensive EU strategy.

In a joint effort the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) and the Endocrine Society organised, on Monday 19 November 2019, a high-level policy debate inside the European Parliament. MEPs and other stakeholders gathered to discuss the ongoing EU activities around EDCs, and in particular the recent EC communication towards a comprehensive EU framework on endocrine disruptors.

Hosted by MEP’s Eric Andrieu (S&D) and Lieve Wierinck (ALDE) and co-moderated by ESE CEO Helen Gregson, the meeting featured presentations by Prof Vera Popovic (Serbia) and Prof Angel Nadal (Spain). The experts conveyed the positions of ESE and the Endocrine Society on the EC Communication and the issue of EDCs in general. Prof Jorma Toppari (Finland) discussed the detrimental effects of EDC’s on fertility and the enormous societal consequences of reduced fertility in the future. During the discussion with the audience he extended the debate beyond the classical scope of estrogen-adrenal- thyroid-steroidogenesis axes by highlighting the concerns of the scientific community around metabolic diseases like type 1 diabetes and their potential association with EDCs.

The meeting was a strong call for action to the EC to not further delay improved EU regulation in this area.

‘In view of overwhelming evidence and the long-term impact of EDCs across generations concrete measures cannot be procrastinated any longer’, commented Helen Gregson.

It was agreed that while further research is needed and welcomed, this cannot serve as an excuse to further postpone action and not renew the current EDC strategy that was initiated in 1999.

Prof Vera Popovic commented on the discussion: ‘This meeting was an excellent engagement with around 40 stakeholders in the EDC debate. I felt a keen interest from the MEP’s to further engage with the experts and consider additional action in the future.’

See the ESE statement responding to the latest EC communication on EDC’s.

See the press release relating to the latest EC communication on the issue.