Endocrine Society Experts Call for Plastics Treaty to Protect Public from Chemical Exposure

Endocrine Society experts called on the nations participating in talks to develop a global plastics treaty to seize the opportunity to protect the public from dangerous endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics.

Society member Marina Fernandez, PhD, spoke during the plenary of the United Nations Environment Programme Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution Wednesday.

“Our community is united in our view that the Plastics Treaty represents an opportunity to protect human and ecological health from the adverse effects of plastic pollution by minimizing exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs),” Fernandez said in the statement.

Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, also is representing the Society at the meeting. Trasande is a co-author of a series of authoritative economic analyses that found EDC exposures cost the EU upwards of €157 billion a year.

During the meeting, Society experts pushed for banning, phasing out and/or reducing the use of problematic and avoidable plastic products as well as chemicals of concern.

The Society called for the treaty to:

  • Reduce hazardous chemical use in plastic products through strict safety standards and criteria with consideration for EDCs, which have effects at extremely low, biologically relevant levels.
  • Incorporate public health objectives, with special consideration for disproportionately impacted countries and communities.
  • Establish an independent advisory body to provide relevant scientific information that includes academic scientists free of conflicts of interest who are actively publishing and engaged in endocrine research, to provide advice on measures to minimize exposure to EDCs.

EDCs block, mimic, or otherwise interfere with the body’s response to hormones. By interfering with these signals, EDCs can cause cancer, diabetes, reproductive disorders, and neurological impairments. They pose a particularly serious threat to children, pregnant women, and industrial workers who face high levels of chemical exposure.

This week’s meeting comes six months after the initial plastics treaty discussion in Uruguay.

“We are encouraged by this important opportunity to address the interconnected goals of eliminating pollution and exposure to harmful chemicals, and improving health,” Fernandez said in the statement. “Our community of scientists and clinicians look forward to contributing to the success of the instrument towards our shared goals of reducing the global incidence of disease worldwide.”

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