Endocrine disruptors
Go to:


What are endocrine disruptors?

subir

An endocrine disruptor or hormonal disruptor is a chemical that can interfere with animal and human endocrine (or hormone) system causing several adverse effects on exposed individuals and/or their offspring. Adverse affects include cancer, behaviour alterations or reproductive disorders among others.

The effects depend of the affected hormonal system (oestrogenic, thyroidal, etc.) and the moment of exposure (fetal development, childhood, puberty, etc.). Effects vary also depending on gender. Effects on children of exposed individuals have particular significance.

Possible effects of endocrine disruptors on human health include:


  • On exposed female individuals: breast cancer, death of embryos and unborn children, inherited anomalies and malformations, endometriosis, etc.

  • On exposed male individuals: testicular cancer, reduction of sperm count and sperm quality, reduction of testosterone levels, modified concentrations of thyroidal hormones, etc.

  • On offspring of exposed individuals: early puberty, higher cancer rates, deformation of reproductive organs, problems in the development of the central nervous system, low birth weight, diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems.



What to do?

subir


The effects of exposure to endocrine disruptors are observed at very low doses, generally below exposure limits set by legislation.

Given the serious effects of exposure to these agents they are considered as chemicals of high concern and risks from exposure must be avoided. Their elimination or substitution are priority actions and only in those cases where these actions are not technically feasible, workers’ exposure must be reduced through other measures (individual and collective protection) following the principles of preventive action according to Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.


In view of the possibility of exposure of pregnant or breastfeeding women employers must:

  1. Implement the necessary measures to avoid exposure by adapting the work places of affected workers.

  2. Transfer the affected workers to work stations compatible with their condition whenever modification of workplaces is not possible.

  3. Suspend the affected workers’ from their jobs during pregnancy or breastfeeding periods whenever transfer to other work stations is not possible. This option includes subsidizing affected workers (subsidized job suspension).


Endocrine disruptors are included in the EU list of priority pollutants for elimination as expressed in the White Paper: Strategy for a future Chemicals Policy.


Classification

subir

This list of endocrine disruptors was developed from the following sources:


Priority list of chemicals developed within the EU-Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters:




Category 1evidence of endocrine disrupting activity in at least one species using intact animals
Category 2at least some in vitro evidence of biological activity related to endocrine disruptionT
Category 3no evidence of endocrine disrupting activity or no data available. (In this priority-setting exercise Commission Scientific Committees and Stakeholders were consulted and considered that a differentiation between both categories should be done).
Category 4substances that are not considered as endocrine disrupters



Related legislation and policies

subir



  • Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work

  • Council Directive 98/24/EC of 7 April 1998 on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work.

  • Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters. A range of substances suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife. Commission to the Council and the European Parliament COM (1999) 706.

  • Application of the Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters. A range of substances suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife. Commission to the Council and the European Parliament COM (1999) 706. COM (2001) 262 final.

  • Application of the Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters. A range of substances suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife. Commission to the Council and the European Parliament COM (1999) 706. SEC (2004) 1372.

  • Application of the Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters. A range of substances suspected of interfering with the hormone systems of humans and wildlife. Commission to the Council and the European Parliament COM (1999) 706. SEC (2007) 1635.

  • White Paper on the Strategy for a future Chemicals Policy COM(2001)88.




References

subir

This list of endocrine disruptors was developed from the following sources:


ListSourceDate of publication
UECommission to the Council and the European Parliament’s communication  COM (1999) 706December 1999
UE

Commission to the Council and the European Parliament’s communication  COM (2001) 262 final

June  2001
UECommission to the Council and the European Parliament’s communication  SEC (2004) 1372October 2004
UE Commission to the Council and the European Parliament’s communication  SEC (2007) 1635December 2007
Council Directive 89/391/EECArticle 15November 2005






Last update

subir


July 2012


 

This web has been developed by SPL Sistemas de Información