As part of our global advocacy for science-based policies to reduce exposure to harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), the Endocrine Society has a seat on an advisory body to the European Commission on the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS). On May 18, members of the advisory met in Brussels, Belgium, to adopt a report and recommendations to the Commission on a Strategic Research and Innovation Plan (SRIP) and framework for Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD).
Endocrine Society member Anne-Simone Parent, MD, PhD, who represents the Society with this effort, delivered remarks emphasizing the need for the SRIP to support research on the harmful effects of chemicals on endocrine system. She called on the Commission to ensure that the SRIP and SSbD framework work synergistically to ensure that new discoveries on chemical hazards can be integrated into design frameworks for new chemicals to improve the predictive power of such frameworks. She highlighted the example of bisphenol-A (BPA), where a failure to integrate data developed by academic scientists about hazards associated with BPA exposure has created a situation where BPA exposure continues to be widespread and well above levels that are known to be harmful, according to a recent draft opinion by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). Moreover, replacement chemicals with similar structures to BPA have recently been found to often have similar effects. Our position is that a forward-thinking strategy for SSbD would have utilized knowledge about endocrine hazards to better predict such effects.
A failure to integrate data developed by academic scientists about hazards associated with BPA exposure has created a situation where BPA exposure continues to be widespread and well above levels that are known to be harmful.
On June 1, Parent joined Endocrine Society member Angel Nadal, PhD, for an Endocrine Society webinar highlighting the harmful effects of BPA and the importance of finalizing the draft EFSA opinion lowering the acceptable levels of BPA, consistent with scientific evidence, and developing group-based restrictions for bisphenols to prevent further regrettable substitutions. Also participating in the webinar were Members of the European Parliament, Sarah Wiener, Jytte Guteland, and Martin Hojsik, who were tested for their exposure to bisphenols, among other groups of EDCs, and spoke about their personal concerns given their exposure to these chemicals. Finally, Jürgen Arning from the German Environment Agency described a proposal from the Agency to restrict a group of bisphenols due to their endocrine disrupting properties.
These activities are another step in the Endocrine Society’s ongoing work to encourage the Commission and EU institutions to move quickly to develop effective legislative proposals that reduce exposure to EDCs as part of the CSS. We will continue to keep members apprised of developments by the EU Commission, including discussion on the transition to safer chemicals and substitutions.