New EFSA opinion on endocrine disrupters
Posted on 22/03/2013
As part of the review process of the European Commission on its strategy on endocrine disrupters, EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) published a scientific opinion on the hazard assessment of these substances to help develop methods to prevent unnecessary exposure and to protect human health and the environment. The opinion makes a number of recommendations including those for future testing methods and strategies.
While Eurogroup supports the protection of humans and wildlife from the effects of endocrine disruptors, we believe the revised strategy should not lead to the addition of an abundance of new tests to what is already an overloaded testing strategy. The use of non-animal test methods should be promoted instead as endocrine disruptive effects in humans are difficult to reconcile with the results from animal testing, which differ dramatically between species.
Members of the European Parliament expressed the same point of view last week with the adoption of a resolution calling on the promotion of non-animal test methods and the use of animal tests as a last resort.
Endocrine Disrupters are chemicals that interfere with the hormone system in animals, including both human health and wildlife and these can occur through direct contact with pesticides and other chemicals or through ingestion of contaminated water, food, or air. Studies indicate a link with endocrine disrupters and testicular cancer, decreased sperm count, breast cancer, early onset of puberty and expected links to diabetes and obesity in humans. While in wildlife, there is indication of links between endocrine disrupters and reproductive abnormalities, masculinisation of gastropods and feminisation of fish.