Debate Over Regulation of Endocrine Disruptors Builds

The past few weeks have seen growing intensity in the scientific community as researchers continue to add their voices to the battle over the regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals. An article in Scientific American this week calls attention to the academic barbs being traded via scientific journals. Daniel Cressey writes that the fighting recently resurfaced over a leaked policy on endocrine disruptors from the European Commission instigated debate. According to Cressey:

The July editorial in Food and Chemical Toxicology, signed by 18 editors of various journals, accused the European Commission of preparing a regulatory system for “so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals” that was “based on virtually complete ignorance of all well-established and taught principles of pharmacology and toxicology”. The authors, along with other researchers, also wrote an open letter to Anne Glover, EU chief scientific adviser, making similar points. That letter has been republished in numerous other journals.

Critics of the European Commission's leaked policy expressed outrage that companies should have to prove that their products were endocrine disruptor free, saying that the majority of scientific research proves that the chemicals in question are harmless. Opponents believe that the thresholds which many scientists insist denote consumption levels safe for humans are flawed. They responded to critics by asserting that endocrine disruptors have “low-dose effects”, meaning that small amounts of endocrine disrupting chemicals may escape detection by the human body and build up in this way. Despite the assertions of the opponents of tighter endocrine disruptor regulations, science exists which suggests that these chemicals can be harmful to humans, and this new research must be examined closely before legislation is created. For more information on the continuing debate on safety, please see the original article here.

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