The organisation published a review of the evidence from the last five years. This concludes that exposure to chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, flame retardants and pesticides such as atrazine and DDT, is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and obesity, infertility, hormone-related cancers, prostate conditions, thyroid disorders and neurodevelopmental issues.
“The evidence is more definitive than ever before – endocrine disrupting chemicals disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health,” said Andrea Gore, professor and Vacek chair of pharmacology at the University of Texas, and chair of the task force that produced the statement.
“Hundreds of studies are pointing to the same conclusion, whether they are long-term epidemiological studies in humans, basic research in animals and cells, or research into groups of people with known occupational exposure to specific chemicals.
“It is clear we need to take action to minimise further exposure,” said professor Gore. “With more chemicals being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out if household goods.”
In the statement, the society calls for:
- regulation to ensure that chemicals are tested for endocrine activity, including at low doses, prior to being permitted for use;
- additional research to infer more directly cause-and-effect relationships between EDC exposure and health conditions;
- advice for the public and policymakers on “how to keep EDCs out of food, water and the air, as well as ways to protect unborn children from exposure”; and
- chemists to create products that test for and eliminate potential EDCs.
“The science is clear and it’s time for policymakers to take this wealth of evidence into account as they develop legislation,” said society member Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, professor of paediatrics at the University of Liège.
A global issue
The statement executive summary says, although some countries and US states have banned some EDCs, “the fact that EDCs are ubiquitous makes it a global issue that requires international partnerships among developed and developing nations.”
It also backs the “evidence integration” philosophy of the US National Toxicology Program in deciding whether a chemical may have a health impact.
“When high-quality endocrinological studies demonstrate that a chemical interferes with hormone action in vivo and in vitro at environmentally (human) relevant concentrations, and when we have a high degree of evidence that these hormone systems are essential for normal development, it is reasonable to infer that these chemicals will produce adverse effects in humans,” says the summary.
To back up its call for the provision of “substantial information” before a chemical can be used in household products, it says BPS, which has been used to replace BPA, “is now shown to have endocrine-disrupting activity on a par with BPA”.
NGOs welcomed the statement. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) urged countries at the UN conference to back a proposed Resolution on EDCs put forward by developing countries. Healthcare Without Harm (HCWH) irged EU policy makers to identify EDCs in medical devices and to replace them with safer alternatives. »
Article (29 September 2015) : https://chemicalwatch.com/37422/evidence-for-edcs-more-definitive-than-ever
Endocrine Society press release : http://www.endocrine.org/news-room/current-press-releases/chemical-exposure-linked-to-rising-diabetes-obesity-risk
Statement executive summary : http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/er.2015-1093
HEAL press release : http://www.env-health.org/resources/press-releases/article/heal-reaction-to-endocrine-society
HCWH statement : https://noharm-europe.org/articles/news/europe/hcwh-europe-welcomes-endocrine-societys-scientific-statement-endocrine