Chemicals are an essential component of our daily lives. But some chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, can have harmful effects on the body's endocrine (hormone) system. Hormones act in very small amounts and at precise moments in time to regulate the body's development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, immunity and behaviour. Endocrine disruptors interfere with natural hormone systems, and the health effects can be felt long after the exposure has stopped. Exposure to endocrine disruptors in the womb can have life-long effects and can even have consequences for the next generation.
There is growing concern in the EU and worldwide about negative human health and environmental impacts possibly caused by endocrine disruptors. The EU has introduced specific legislative obligations aimed at phasing out endocrine disruptors in water, industrial chemicals, plant protection products and biocides. In REACH, endocrine disrupting chemicals are considered of similar regulatory concern as substances of very high concern.
The European Commission is currently working on a proposal for science-based criteria for endocrine disruptors, as required in the Plant Protection Products Regulation and the Biocidal Products Regulation.
- Roadmap for defining criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors in the context of the implementation of the plant protection products regulation and the biocidal products regulation
- The responses to the public consultation on defining criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors in the context of the implementation of the plant protection products regulation and the biocidal products regulation
Reports and events:
- The Endocrine Disrupters Expert Advisory Group, set up by DG Environment and chaired by the Commission's Joint Research Centre, with the aim of supporting future Commission’s decisions on the establishment of horizontal criteria for the identification of EDs, concluded its work in 2013. The report is downloadable from JRC's website.
A European Commission conference on "Endocrine Disruptors: Current challenges in science and policy" took place in June 2012. (See programme, presentations and press memo). The outcome of the conference is feeding into the review of the European Commission's current strategy on endocrine disruptors. It also provides input to the Commission's upcoming proposal for criteria for the identification of substances with endocrine disrupting properties.
- The report on the State of the Art of the Assessment of Endocrine Disruptors has been finalised by the contractor at the end of January 2012 and is available here.
- The fourth implementation report of the Community Strategy for Endocrine Disruptors was published in August 2011 (SEC(2011) 1001)
- The priority list of substances for further evaluation of their role in endocrine disruption is now available as an Access-Database. The database comprises not only substances categorised in terms of priority but also the scientific information underlying the prioritisation. It can be extracted from this webpage.
- Report: see Strategy - What is being done?/Priority list