EDC criteria to be published this summer | Breast Cancer UK

EDC criteria to be published this summer

Published 3 Feb 2016

Yesterday, the EU Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said that scientific criteria for defining endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) will be delivered by Summer, 2016.

This is at least 6 months earlier than previously stated, but far later than the due date the criteria should have been published (December 13, 2013). The commitment to publication this year is in response to an EU Court ruling that the Commission has breached EU law by not having presented EDC criteria by the due date.

Breast Cancer UK welcomes the news that the EU will speed up the process, but believe the delay in publishing EDC criteria adversely affects human health and the environment. Hormone disrupting chemicals have been linked to numerous diseases, including breast cancer, as well as environmental pollution. Current EU regulations of EDCs are inconsistent and inadequate; without a clear definition of EDC criteria they will remain so.  A clearer definition of EDCs based on sound scientific assessments is the first step to ensuring EDCs are properly regulated and removed from products.

The European Commission published a consultation document in 2014.  Breast Cancer UK submitted a response which:

  • called for a regulatory system that leads to a reduction in our exposures to hormone disrupting chemicals, and so helps to prevent breast cancer and other hormone-related illnesses;
  • supported the addition of establishing three categories for EDCs to include confirmed, suspected, potential EDCs which would allow chemicals to be assessed and ranked according to the scientific data available; and 
  • strongly opposed the proposal to include ‘potency criteria’ for EDCs as ‘potency’ is difficult to identify and could lead to some EDCs, that would otherwise be recognised as harmful, being excluded;

Hormone related illnesses have increased considerably in recent decades and this is particularly true of breast cancer. Over the past forty years breast cancer rates have increased dramatically throughout Europe and currently, the chance of a woman in the United Kingdom developing breast cancer over her lifetime is one in eight  This dramatic increase cannot be accounted for by known risk factors  and may be due to exposure to environmental pollutants including EDCs.

The European Commission needs to establish a regulatory system that leads to reducing our exposures to hormone disrupting chemicals, and so help prevent breast cancer and other hormone-related illnesses.

Read our information sheet on EDCs 

Read Breast Cancer UK’s response to the European Commission’s consultation on EDCs 

For more background information on EDC regulations in the EU see article by The Greens/European Free Alliance

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