A group of five EU member states – Denmark, Belgium, France, Sweden and the Netherlands, have recently taken the initiative to launch a website – Endocrine Disruptor Lists. This website is the first of its’ kind, as no official European list of identified endocrine disruptors (EDs) was previously available and only few substances have been officially identified as endocrine disruptors.
The aim of the website is to primarily inform stakeholders about the current status of:
- Substances that are identified as EDs at EU level;
- Substances that are under evaluation for endocrine disrupting properties under an EU chemicals legislation;
- Substances that are considered as EDs by one or more of the participating countries.
The compilation of this information in one place will improve knowledge about EDs, increase transparency, coherence and consistency, while also aiding coordination across the various legislative areas. For European authorities to be able to regulate these substances, they must first be identified and prioritised. It is also possible that identification and regulation of additional EDs may be facilitated by this new website.
“The list is of value to consumers, the industry and, of course, decision-makers. With it, consumers can avoid endocrine disruptors. The industry can find information about what substances are already under suspicion, and thus can get a little ahead, which many manufacturers are interested in“, says Jane Ebsen Morthorst, ecotoxicologist at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), partner of ERGO. Together with her colleague, ERGO coordinator Henrik Holbech, from SDU Ecotoxicology and the Danish Centre on Endocrine Disruptors, she has provided knowledge to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on which substances are candidates for the website. An example of a substance put on List III by the Danish Centre on Endocrine Disruptors is Bisphenol AF, this substance is similar to Bisphenol A (BPA), however the EU has identified BPA as an endocrine disruptor and its use is now banned. In the mean time Bisphenol AF has replaced the previous use of BPA in the manufacture of plastic.
“This is a typical example of the fact that when a substance is banned, the industry begins to use a structurally related substance that is not banned, but which proves to be just as harmful when it is eventually examined. There are many such closely related substances that are not banned today, but can be expected to be, as studies already show – or can be expected to show – that they are just as harmful. There is enough knowledge about Bisphenol AF to regulate the use of it, because the harmful effect has already been described in the scientific literature. If we have to keep re-examining something that has already been investigated, then we will never reach the finishing line. Therefore, we are very pleased with the efforts of the Danish EPA with this list, based on scientific studies that we as researchers can vouch for“, says Jane Ebsen Morthorst. On behalf of Denmark, the Danish EPA has put nine substances on the list.
In December 2019, the European Commission (EC) began a Fitness Check of all EU legislation related to EDs. The EC is currently examining whether the EU chemical legislations are adequate to ensure the safety of human and environmental health, minimising exposure to EDs and whether there is coherence between the legislations. The Fitness Check results are expected to be available in the coming months.
For more information, visit Endocrine Disruptor Lists: edlists.org
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