Protecting children from dangerous chemicals
EU-funded researchers are striving to create a safer and healthier world for future generations by accurately assessing the risks of chemicals associated with developmental disorders, sexual development and growth and metabolism in children.
© pressmaster #93974811, source: fotolia.com 2018
The EDC-MIXRISK project is exploring the health effects of a group of man-made substances that have been shown to disrupt the bodys endocrine system, the collection of hormone-producing glands that regulate growth and development, metabolism, reproduction and even mood and sleep patterns. They are referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs.
Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to brain development and growth disorders in children, chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in adults, as well as reproductive, fertility and other health problems in both humans and animals.
With evidence mounting about the dangers of EDCs, EDC-MIXRISK is investigating different types of chemicals and chemical mixtures in order to develop tools and techniques to accurately assess the risks of exposure, especially among children and pregnant women.
The researchers are conducting their studies across three health domains growth and metabolism, neurodevelopment and sexual development to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying associations between exposure and adverse health effects.
Experiments by the researchers involved using animal and cell models already suggest that early-life exposure to even low concentrations of some EDC mixtures induce changes at the molecular, cellular and organism level, which could lead to increased susceptibility to diseases later in life.
Better risk management
Data obtained from EDC-MIXRISK research and experiments will feed into the development of a transparent and systematic framework for risk assessment by authorities responsible for chemicals regulations and protection of public health. This will promote better risk management for substances that currently have a wide range of uses in industries as diverse as agriculture, construction, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and consumer products.
The EDC-MIXRISK partners, including leading research institutes in Sweden and six other countries, expect their work to contribute to improved regulatory processes that will ultimately prevent exposure to chemicals that pose a danger to human health and the environment.