The Endocrine Society praised the European Parliament’s resolution calling for greater European Union action to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that pose a serious threat to the health of current and future generations.
The resolution was adopted Thursday by an overwhelming cross-party majority during the final voting session of the current Parliament’s term and affirms the European Parliament’s commitment to shield the public from exposure to EDCs.
The Society has spent years pressing for science-based regulation of these chemicals, which mimic, block or otherwise interfere with the body’s hormones. EDCs are commonly found throughout our environment in children’s products, food containers, personal care products, pesticides and furniture.
The resolution directs the European Commission to propose legislation to regulate EDCs in toys and cosmetics and to update the regulations governing EDCs in food contact materials by June 2020. It emphasizes that EDCs pose a similar public health threat as carcinogens, substances that cause genetic mutations and reproductive toxins, and concludes that EDCs should be regulated in the same manner by the European Union.
“This welcome vote shows that all major political groups in Parliament are committed to protecting current and future generations from the public health threat posed by EDCs,” says Angel Nadal, PhD, Chair of the Society’s EDC Advisory Group and professor at Miguel Hernández University in Elche, Spain. “The resolution’s passage reflects years of advocacy by the Endocrine Society as a scientific authority calling for evidence-based regulation of EDCs.”
The vote comes a month after the Parliament’s Committee on Petitions unveiled a scientific report demonstrating how current EU regulations are limited in their ability to identify EDCs and fail to protect consumers from the effects of exposure to chemical mixtures. Endocrine Society members Barbara Demeneix, PhD, of Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, and Rémy Slama, PhD, of INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research), in Grenoble, France, wrote the report, which called for the development of a coordinated set of EU regulations to govern all types of EDCs across different uses and EU laws.
The Parliament’s resolution addresses the need to accelerate the development of better tests and strategies for identifying EDCs—a policy the Society supported in its position statement issued last year. The resolution also calls for the European Commission to promote research related to EDCs, which is needed to fully understand the impact of these chemicals.
A series of economic analyses found EDC exposure may be costing the European Union upwards of €157 billion ($177 billion) a year. Society experts led the effort to quantify the public health impact of EDCs on the economy.
“We applaud this resolution sending a strong political signal based on latest science, that it is high time for the EU to take serious action to address the cumulative impact of our daily exposure to chemical mixtures on public health,” Nadal says.