EU adopts a bold strategy to reduce exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Europe
ESE welcomes the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, published yesterday (14 October 2020), which has taken into account many of the ESE recommendations in this area. The strategy recognises the urgency to address Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and is an important step towards a toxic free environment as announced in the European Green Deal. ESE is pleased in particular by the strong focus on reducing exposure to harmful chemicals of vulnerable groups including children, the recognition of the “cocktail effect” of chemical mixtures and the announced measures to stimulate the urgently needed innovation in this area towards safe and sustainable chemicals. ESE led by its EDC Working Group and in coordination with likeminded stakeholders has over the past years repeatedly urged the EU institutions to do more to address these specific issues. It has responded to numerous consultations in relation to EDCs, successfully worked with the European Parliament on their resolution for this strategy and actively reached out to National Governments with the support of the ESE Council of Affiliated Societies (ECAS).
“While many unknown still exist with respect to the implementation of the strategy, it shows that the European Commission finally accelerating regulations in this vital area for European population health” said Prof. Köhrle, chair of the ESE EDC Working Group.
ESE will continue to work together with the EU institutions, NGOs and other stakeholders to ensure the strategy translates in better legislation and policies without further delay and drastically reduces the exposure of citizens to the harmful effects of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals.
Exposure to EDCs has been associated with a variety of rare cancers (especially in children), impaired reproduction, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, metabolic illnesses (e.g. diabetes, hypertension and obesity), birth defects, neurodevelopmental disorders and numerous other diseases or impairments.
Economically, EDCs cost the EU28 (including the UK) approximately €157 billion a year in actual healthcare expenses and lost earning potential. This is a conservative estimation; costs may be as high as €270 billion or 2% of European GDP. Large contributors are the healthcare costs for neurodevelopmental and metabolic disorders (e.g. obesity and diabetes), but also reproductive disorders.