« Global chemical industry body: ‘rigorous reviews’ have failed to prove low level effects hypothesis.
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) says there should be acceptance that “safe levels of exposure” can be set for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
Issuing a set of 11 principles for identifying EDCs on the first day of ICCM4 – a major UN chemicals conference in Geneva – it said that thorough examination can identify safe exposure levels.
EDCs is one of the « emerging issues » addressed by the UN’s main chemcials initiative, the voluntary Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Saicm). A Resolution on EDCs has been proposed for adoption at ICCM4, and the ICCA has already said it will oppose any Resolution that seeks to list potential EDCs.
The key ICCA principle says: “The suggestion that low levels of exposure can cause harmful effects that are not adequately captured by traditional toxicological studies is often discussed, but rigorous reviews by scientists at regulatory agencies have been unable to validate the hypothesis, so changes to current testing and safety assessment approaches are not warranted.”
The science does not back up the theories around low dose exposure and non monotonic dose response of EDCs, says the association. “The US EPA and the European Food and Safety Authority have thoroughly examined this and they have not been able to replicate the same health outcomes,” said spokeswoman Anne Womack Kolton.
Until the evidence shows the need to change the way risks and hazards are assessed, she said, “there should be acceptance that you can have a safe level of exposure and you can manage that risk just as you would any other chemicals.”
Low level effects
But some scientists at ICCM4 disagreed. Professor Leonardo Trasande of the New York University (NYU) school of medicine said the lowest levels of exposure appear to pose the greatest increment in health effects. Professor Trasande led studies for international scientific organisation, the Endocrine Society, which concluded, earlier this year, that exposure to EDCs in the EU has an annual price tag of at least €157bn.
To prove a safe level of exposure, he said, laboratory studies and ongoing monitoring of human exposure are required. “We need to take an evidence-based approach that proves innocence [of a chemical] in contrast to what currently occurs, which is a dangerous and unnatural experiment on human health”.
He said that this should be to “actively test chemicals for potential health hazards”, with a focus on lowest levels of exposure.
This “should take a rigorous and broad approach that includes developing organ systems and endocrine systems, in particular”. He added that the present regulatory framework does not require that level of testing “anywhere in the world” but said that the EU is moving in this direction.
Publishing a review of EDCs science on Monday, the Endocrine Society said the evidence that some chemicals disrupt hormones in a way that causes a range of serious health problems has become more compelling.
However, in response, the American Chemistry Council, a member of the ICCA, said the review “incorrectly characterises as settled, the still-unproven hypothesis regarding risks of low levels of exposure to particular chemicals”.
It also said the review failed to differentiate between chemicals that are “endocrine-active”, meaning they interact with the endocrine system, and those that are “endocrine disruptors” – those where the levels of exposure associated with an interaction cause scientifically proven adverse health effects. «
Article by Leigh Stringer
ICCA principles : http://www.iccaaticcm4.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ICCA-Principles-for-Identifying-Endocrine-Active-and-Endocrine-Dusrupting-Chemicals.pdf
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