What is being done?
Following the conclusions of the Weybridge Report and those
of the SCTEE, it became imperative that the European Commission
takes action to address the potential problems posed by endocrine
In 1999, following consultation with stakeholders from across the
EU, the Commission adopted the 'Community strategy for endocrine
This strategy focused on short, medium and long-term actions that,
when implemented, would contribute to ensure a better environment
and health of people within the Union.
The short-term actions involve the setting up of information gathering
exercises. These exercises will provide background information from
which medium and long-term actions can be progressed and will also
identify knowledge gaps that may need to be addressed in the future.
The short-term actions include:
- Establishment of a priority
list of substances for further evaluation of their
role in endocrine disruption.
This first step resulted in a study entitled "Towards the
establishment of a priority list of substances for further evaluation
of their role in endocrine disruption - preparation of a candidate
list of substances as a basis for priority setting". A second
step resulted in a study entitled "Study on gathering information
on 435 substances with insufficient data". Finally a third
step resulted in a study entitled: "Study on enhancing the
endocrine disruptor priority with a focus on low production volume
The results of these studies are compiled in a database.
To extract the database, please, follow these instructions:
- Download the zipped file to your hard-disk
- Unzip the file and run the database (by a double-click on EDS_2003_DHI2006.mdb).
- Minimum requirement: MS Access 2003 or later.
- Monitoring levels of suspect chemicals in food and the environment.
- Identification of vulnerable groups of people (such as children)
who need to be given special consideration.
- Establishment of an international network to enable information
exchange and co-ordination of research and testing.
- Communication with the public and continuing consultation with
Which substances are of concern? > (Priority list)
The medium-term actions of the Commission's strategy centre on the practical and experimental activities needed to ensure that suspected chemicals are tested in a speedy and accurate way. The test development process is directed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the Commission contributes by coordinating the input of member states. These actions include:
- The development and validation of internationally agreed test methods to assess endocrine disruption in people and wildlife.
- The development of a European test strategy for identifying and assessing EDs that is consistent with similar strategies in other countries such as the USA and Japan.
- The co-ordination and funding of international research into the underlying mechanisms of endocrine disruption and understanding how these mechanisms can impact on human health. The Commission is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) through the International Programme for Chemical Safety (IPCS) in addition to overseas governments, departments and agencies. Research has been funded under the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Framework Programmes for R&D and has been included in the calls for proposals under the Seventh Framework.
- The identification of alternative chemicals to substitute those on the priority list will be undertaken when appropriate test methods for ensuring their safety of these substitute chemicals are available.
The long-term actions under the Commission's strategy relate to
updating, amending or adapting the legislative instruments that
protect the health of humans and wildlife in the EU. This includes:
- Addition of new or adaptation of existing toxicity tests for
hazard assessment and the adaptation of methodology for assessing
the health risk to people and wildlife (risk assessment).
- Updating the way in which chemicals are classified, packaged,
labelled, used or marketed in order to ensure safe usage and disposal
within the EU. Of particular relevance is the Commission's new Regulation
(EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation,
Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). It will enter
into force 1 June 2007 and addresses industrial chemicals with
endocrine disrupting potential.
- Legislation relating to the testing, assessment, use and disposal
of specific substance groups such as pesticides, biocides and
consumer products will also require review, so as to ensure that
those with endocrine disrupting properties are properly managed
- EDs not addressed by specific legislation (e.g.natural substances
and by-products such as hormones and dioxins) will be dealt with
under environmental legislative instruments such as the Water
Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), adopted in 2000, or through
the adaptation of existing international legislation such as the
UNECE POPs Protocol.