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Institutional framework

EU strategy on endocrine disruption

Environment DG


icon EU strategy on endocrine disruption

Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters (1999):
short-, medium- and long-term strategy

1. Short-term strategy

One of the first key short-term actions identified in the European Commission’s Communication [COM(1999)706 final, PDF format : ~ 167 kb PDF file - 167 Kb] is the establishment of a priority list of substances for further evaluation of their role in endocrine disruption. The priority list was to be established in two steps, first an independent review of evidence of endocrine-disrupting effects and human/wildlife exposure, and second a priority-setting exercise in consultation with stakeholders and the Commission’s Scientific Committees. The establishment of this list is managed by the Environment DG of the European Commission and is ongoing.

Short-term action also encompasses the need for communication to the public and international co-operation. For further info, download “Information Exchange and International Co-ordination on Endocrine Disrupters" [PDF format : ~ 386 kb PDF file - 4,530 Kb].

Communication to the public: Increased activities in the field of research, sponsored by the European Commission’s Research DG, will considerably increase the visibility of the phenomenon of endocrine disruption, as project results are made available to the public through leaflets, press releases, websites, and workshops. The European Commission has also created two websites: the endocrine disrupter website and the present endocrine disrupter research website.

International co-operation:

Logo - IPCS The European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have co-operated, through the International Programme for Chemical Safety, on the maintenance of a global research inventory, which is housed at the Commission’s Joint Research Centre and on the compilation of a “Global state-of-the-science of endocrine disruptors” report , published in 2002.
    In December 2003, the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the WHO/UNEP/ILO International Programme on Chemical Safety hosted in Tokyo a joint workshop on “Endocrine Disruptors: Research Needs and Future Directions”. A Final report [PDF format : ~ 386 kb PDF file - 533 Kb] is available. It followed an International Symposium on Environmental Endocrine Disrupters held in Sendai, Japan.
Logo - OECD Both the European Commission and the WHO are committed to supporting the efforts of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop agreed test methods for endocrine disrupters. The European Commission works closely with EU Member States to coordinate EU input at the OECD.
  Logo - Environmental Protection Agency In 2000, the European Commission and United States Environmental Protection Agency agreed to share information on a regular basis on priority setting, screening and testing as well as on research activities.

2. Medium-term strategy

Medium-term action includes

Identification and assessment of EDCs. The availability of agreed test strategies/methods to identify and assess endocrine-disrupting chemicals is a basic requirement for comprehensive legislative action aimed at protecting people and the environment from the potential dangers posed by these chemicals.

Research and development. Further research is needed on test methods and testing strategy; effects on humans/wildlife; ED mechanism of action, effects at key stages of life cycle; models to estimate exposure; development of monitoring tools). As a result, the Research DG of the European Commission has substantially increased spending on research projects linked to endocrine disruption.

3. Long-term strategy

Long-term action focuses on legislative action. Policy action is needed to further substantiate harmful suspected effects, then control use/production of harmful substances. Independent advice, e.g. that of SCTEE or more recently created committees such as the Scientific Committee on Environmental Health Risks, will be sought and legislative instruments will be adapted to cover the hazard identification, risk assessment and risk management stages. In this context, both the REACH and the SCALE initiatives will provide new legislative support.
Further information on policy relevance of endocrine disruption can be found at

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