On June 1, R. Thomas Zoeller, PhD, co-chair of the Society’s EU and Global EDC Task Forces presented during the European Commission (EC) Conference on Endocrine Disruptors: Criteria for Identification and Related Impacts and told the European Commission that current approaches to identify EDCs are not effective because they do not take into account critical endocrine principles.
The one-day conference, organized by the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), gathered stakeholders to “inform Member States, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), third-country representatives, and stakeholders about the on-going impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors and to provide a platform for further exchanges of views.” Th e Endocrine Society was invited to present our scientific perspective on EDCs following our submission of comments to the European Commission in response to its public consultation on EDCs. Participants at the conference discussed scientifi c aspects of the criteria to identify EDCs, the EU legislative framework for EDCs, and potential mpacts on industry, consumers, trade, agriculture, health, and the environment. The conference ended with little agreement on a path forward; however, several stakeholders emphasized that there exists a broad scientific consensus on the definition for EDCs and that further regulatory action is needed.
Society EU Task Force members Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, MD, PhD, Barbara Demeneix, PhD, Richard Ivell, PhD, Giancarlo Panzica, PhD, and Rémy Slama, PhD, also participated in the conference. Th e conference was limited to nearly 280 participants; however, stakeholders worldwide could watch a live webcast of the conference. The Endocrine Society actively generated additional attention through dedicated social media eff orts. The Society’s media twitter account featured live tweets of the conference and prompted interaction from EU scientists, journalists, public interest groups, and members. @EndoMedia added 10 followers as a result, including MEP Pavel Poc. In response to the Society’s press release, coverage from Endocrinology Advisory highlighted Zoeller’s presentation.
Following the conference, the Society’s EU Task Force members met with several MEPs to discuss the Society’s messages on EDCs and emphasize the importance of taking action and avoiding additional delays. The meetings also offered a chance for MEPs to learn more about the Endocrine Society’s response to the Commission’s public consultation on EDCs and why a “potency” cutoff as part of the criteria for identifying EDCs is not scientifically justifiable.
In November 2015, the Commission intends to organize a workshop focusing on the development and evaluation of test methods for identifying EDCs. Additionally, a screening study will examine the impact and consequences of establishing various criteria for the identification of EDCs. The Commission anticipates that the process will continue through 2016. The Society will remain engaged to ensure that the perspective of endocrinologists is incorporated into the ongoing debates. To help advance the discussion, the Society recently issued a Position Statement on EDCs in the EU with specific policy positions and recommendations for regulators to consider moving forward. The Position Statement is available on the Society’s website.