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Why are extra measures needed, when current tests and regulations will address any real toxic effects due to EDCs?

Some people say there is no need for a separate approach for identifying EDCs because the EU’s current system of classifying carcinogens, mutagens and chemicals toxic to reproduction (CMRs) will cover them.

Indeed, some EDCs have already been classified as carcinogens or chemicals toxic to reproduction and it can be expected that in future with improved test methods more chemicals with an endocrine disrupting mode of action will be classified under the EU Directive for Classification &Labelling (CLP).

However, in CHEM Trust’s view the evidence shows that this approach is not sufficient to adequately protect human health and the environment, because for example:

  • Currently used test methods will not pick up all EDCs; there is still a need to update test methods with relevant endpoints and with the most sensitive exposure time windows [i]. New regulatory test methods are needed beyond CMR endpoints to identify EDCs that can disrupt pathways other than the typical estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormones (EATs). For example, this would include assays to identify EDCs that interfere with insulin and glucose regulation, particularly given the increased trends in the incidences of diabetes and obesity. Moreover, OECD has recently identified the need for progress on thyroid disruptor testing [ii].
  • The current classification system for carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxic (CMR) substances covers only chemicals which impact on human health. EDCs which impact on wildlife species also need addressing. This will be part of the considerations regarding the forthcoming EDC criteria, which are expected to be finalised by the EU Commission by the end of 2015 or early 2016.

This page is part of CHEM Trust’s Hormone Disrupting Chemicals FAQ – Full list of questions here.

The next question is “Do EDCs have thresholds and can safe exposure values be identified?“.


[i].    Danish Centre on Endocrine Disruptors: Information/testing strategy for identification of substances with endocrine disrupting properties, Final report June 2013

[ii]. http://chemicalwatch.com/21599/oecd-calls-for-progress-on-thyroid-disruptor-testing