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Leading scientist on EDCs speaks on “winning back” public health

Andreas Kortenkamp, author of two major reports on endocrine disruptors for the EU Commission, gave a lecture in Paris on tackling EDCs to win back public health. The meeting was organised by HEAL member Réseau Environnement Santé (RES).

In his presentation to a packed audience in the French Senate on 26 April, Andreas Kortenkamp from Brunel University (UK) highlighted both research and policy developments. He took the example of male reproductive health, which is one of the best-researched areas, to draw attention to science linking endocrine disruption to increasing disease trends and the impact of EDCs on public health. He predicted that sperm quality could reach crisis levels in certain parts of Europe within the next 20 years.

On EU policy and process, Kortenkamp said that both the WHO definition of EDCs and the need to use a “weight of evidence” approach were now starting to be widely accepted. His particular concern was the legal requirements for the testing of EDCs, including on the recently agreed regulation on testing of active ingredients in pesticides which does not specify the current best available test methods to identify endocrine disruption.

Feedback from the audience suggested worries that a case-by-case approach to the weeding out of endocrine disrupting chemicals would take too long. Several participants mentioned the need for a precautionary approach, including a reference to the ‘Late Lessons’ learned in relation to tobacco.

The French government’s plans to develop a national strategy on endocrine disrupting chemicals also featured in the questions. Kortenkamp said he would welcome strong leadership from France. He said that a RES proposal to create an EDC fund based on 0.1% of agro-business profits had “the ring of quite a good idea”.

Meeting document available here (in FR)

Last updated on 13 May 2013

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