The group of seven researchers are from independent institutions and universities, and say their work could pave the way to end a nearly three-year long stalemate over legal requirements concerning endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
EDCs can come from a vast range of chemical substances, from pesticides to dietary contaminants, but in cosmetics and personal care it is triclosan and parabens that have been questioned the most.
Article to highlight report findings
An article highlighting the report findings has recently been published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, arguing that legislators should apply the same logic to EDCs as those for the regulation of carcinogens.
The report, titled “Scientific Issues Relevant to Setting Regulatory Criteria to Identify Endocrine Disrupting Substances in the European Union,", points to the World Health Organization definition of EDCs, which acknowledges the potential to alter the function of the endocrine system, causing adverse health effects.
"Several years have been spent trying to issue scientific criteria defining a hazard that was actually defined in 2002 by a state-of-the-science report from the WHO," says Zoeller.
"The claim of a 'lack of scientific consensus' could have been forged to justify delays in the publication of the scientific criteria as a way to postpone full application of the 2009 pesticide and 2012 biocide laws."
Three key recommendations
In the report, the research group firstly stresses that impact assessment studies should not be used as an argument to postpone the publication of a scientific definition, as it delays steps towards formally identifying EDCs and building steps towards protecting public health in the EU.
The researchers second point is that the three categories proposed by the European Commission as one option--"endocrine disruptors," "suspected endocrine disruptors" and "endocrine active substances" (substances altering the endocrine system with no evidence of the induction of an adverse health effect)--are sufficient for classification.
The third report finding states that ”it is not defensible to conduct an impact assessment study to determine scientific criteria”, going on to stress that this would set a dangerous precedent which is in line with EU findings that such findings that the definition needs to be based on scientific data.