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Collegium Ramazzini ask for new ways to test EDC's chemicals and to revise current approaches to risk management

The Collegium Ramazzini, an international academy of 180 scientists from 25 countries, experts in environmental and occupational health, has released a statement calling for new ways to test chemicals and to revise current approaches to risk management

04.07.2013 |Anouk Dominguez

The impending decisions regarding EU Chemicals Policy, specifically with regard to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), have raised serious concerns in the international scientific community. Europeans are exposed to EDCs every day in both of its forms, natural and synthetic, causing adverse health effects.

The possible results of this exposure include serious conditions like testicular, breast and prostate cancers, decline in sperm counts, pregnancy loss, puberty abnormalities, reproductive organ deformities, neurological problems, diabetes and obesity. Unlike traditional environmental toxicants in which the risk of adverse effects increases as the exposure level increase, endocrine disruptors may exert effects even at low doses. More worrying is that recent research suggests that the EDC effects can be transmitted to future generations.

Collegium Ramazzini President Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, Dean for Global Health and Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York comments: “exposure to EDCs must be controlled, particularly considering the evidence that early life stages - including fetal, neonatal, and childhood development - are particularly vulnerable to EDCs. Exposures in early life to EDCs can trigger onset of diseases in childhood and also later in life.” Landrigan is also Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Mt. Sinai’s Children's Environmental HealthCenter.

In regard to the REACH authorization, the Collegium Ramazzini recommends improved test protocols and expanded test requirements to allow identification of EDCs, for which a safe threshold cannot be determined at present. Thus, the scope of REACH art 60(3) should be extended by default to all EDCs as substances of very high concern. Stringent hazard-based evaluation criteria must be used for EDCs. In this process, risk assessments should not only be based on Good Laboratory Practices studies, but should also consider all academic research of high quality. Only in this way can the EU satisfy the requirement for a precautionary approach that will protect the general population and workers against these serious hazards.

These recommendations are given in an important policy moment, because EU is currently revising its EDC strategy by developing the criteria for identifying and assessing EDC that should apply to all relevant EU laws.  

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