A new policy brief outlines recommendations for tests to identify endocrine disruptors (EDs). The brief has been published by EURION, a cluster of projects working on emerging ED research.
EDs are mostly man-made chemicals which affect the body's hormonal systems. Found in pesticides, food contaminants, and personal care products, they have been linked to disruptions in reproductive, growth, immune functions, and numerous other hormonal functions. The public may be exposed to them through food, dust, water, air particles, and skin contact. ED research, particularly of the adverse effects on thyroid, brain, metabolic and reproductive health has been limited which has hindered their effective regulation.
EURION, a collaboration between eight research projects across Europe, focuses on developing methods and testing strategies for under-studied dysfunctions caused by EDs, including metabolic, brain, thyroid and reproductive disorders. Launched in 2019, the EC Horizon 2020-funded cluster is the largest of its kind, with over €50 million of funding and bringing together more than 70 groups to synergise their research.
Existing regulations require pesticides and antimicrobial agents to undergo an ED assessment, but updated legislation will soon require thousands more industrial chemicals to fulfil the same requirements. Current testing methods for a range of ED-related disorders lack the required sensitivity to detect this new cohort of chemicals and their adverse effects. The EURION cluster is developing new testing and screening methods to meet this need.
The policy brief explains how EDs have been linked to public health issues including obesity, diabetes, neurodevelopmental delay and fertility disorders and how each of the eight EURION research projects will support the development of internationally harmonized strategies and guidelines for testing EDs and assessing these associated health risks.