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Scientists call for an end to the manipulation of science on hormone disrupting chemicals

Nearly 100 leading scientists from universities and research institutes around the world have joined forces to underline the urgent need for action on climate change and hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In a commentary, Let’s stop the manipulation of science, (also available in French), published by Le Monde last week, they warn that vested interests are wilfully distorting the science in both fields. They also underline that the tactic of ‘manufacturing doubt’ should not delay the measures that are urgently needed to protect our health and the environment.

The newspaper also carries three other articles focussing on the European Commission’s late-running process to decide on criteria to identify EDCs. One article alleges that the European Commission manipulated the conclusions of an EFSA report; the second that the European Commission is too dependant on industry-financed studies, and the third highlighting lobbying pressure from the US, Canada and the WTO.

In the commentary the scientists point out the links between the debates on climate change and endocrine disruption:

“Scientific evidence has been willfully distorted by individuals denying the science and actors sponsored by industry interests creating the false impression of a controversy. This manufacturing of doubt has delayed protective actions, with dangerous consequences for the health of people and the environment.

The “manufacturers of doubt” work across several areas, including the tobacco and petrochemical industries, and the agro-chemical sector.”…

“As endocrine disruption and climate change scientists we have joined forces because many of the actions needed to reduce the burden of endocrine disruptors will also help in the fight against climate change. Most man-made chemicals are derived from fossil fuel by-products manufactured by the petrochemical industry. In reducing the amounts of oil refining we will also diminish the production of by-products that drive plastics and plasticizers. These chemicals compromise male reproductive health and contribute to cancer risks.”…

“Although many governments have expressed the political will to deal with greenhouse gases, the translation of scientific knowledge about climate change into effective policy has been blocked, in part through the use of disinformation to confuse the public and our leaders. Governments are already late.

It is important that we do not repeat these mistakes for endocrine disruptors, and learn from the experiences of climate scientists and the public health community.”…

“we are concerned that the regulatory options proposed by the European Commission fall well short of what is needed to protect us and future generations. They set a level of proof for the identification of endocrine disruptors much higher than for other hazardous substances, such as cancer-causing substances – in practice, this will make it very difficult for any substance to be recognized as an endocrine disruptor in the EU.”

Ninja Reineke, Senior Policy Advisor  at CHEM Trust said:

“We hope that the European Commission and EU Governments get the clear message from these scientists that the EU must ensure that its criteria to identify hormone disrupting chemicals will protect human health and wildlife. We can’t let the ‘manufacturing doubt’ strategy from parts of industry prevent the EU setting criteria that are protective of future generations.”