The European Union’s criteria for regulating endocrine-disrupting chemicals in pesticides and biocides do not go far enough to protect public health, according to a statement issued this week by the Endocrine Society.
EU’s criteria for biocides, which took effect Thursday, June 7, are implemented according to a guidance document issued by the European Chemicals Agency and the European Food Safety Agency. In the statement, the society noted its scientific experts remain concerned that the final criteria require an “excessively high level of proof” that a chemical is an endocrine disruptor and that the guidance document creates “further unnecessary barriers to regulating harmful EDCs.”
“The Endocrine Society asserts that the finding of an adverse effect that involves hormones or endocrine systems should be sufficient to identify an EDC,” the statement reads. “A detailed study of action and mechanisms should not be required.”
The society also expressed concerned that that the guidance has a limited scope, looking only at four endocrine pathways, and fails to address other pathways that affect important functions, such as metabolism, body weight and insulin action.
“EDC regulations should be designed to protect the most vulnerable populations — including fetuses, children and adolescents — from irreversible effects,” the statement reads. “EDCs are found in a number of products, including food-contact materials, manufacturing chemicals, children’s toys, cosmetics and personal care products. Those potential sources of exposure need to be addressed beyond the EU’s biocides and pesticide laws.”
position statement, the Endocrine Society called for the EU to revise its 1999 strategy on EDCs to account for new scientific information developed in recent years and with the aim of minimizing exposure to hazardous EDCs throughout the environment and in consumer products.
In November 2016, the society criticized the European Commission’s revised proposal of regulations to define and identify endocrine-disrupting chemicals, stating then that the regulations were based on unnecessarily narrow criteria that would make it difficult to regulate these chemicals.
Previous studies have also found that failure to effectively regulate EDCs is costly, with adverse health effects from EDC exposure costing more than $340 billion annually in the U.S. – by Regina Schaffer