Endocrine Society on the role of EDCs and disease | Breast Cancer UK

Endocrine Society on the role of EDCs and disease

Published 10 Nov 2015

Breast Cancer UK welcomes the release of the Endocrine Society’s second statement on Endocrine Disruptors, published in full today. The Society’s first Scientific Statement released in 2009 concluded that there was “sufficient evidence” that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) posed hazard to a public health. .

Their second statement, considers an even larger body of literature, much of it published during the past five years.  The conclusion reached by the Endocrine Society is emphatically the same.   They recommend stronger regulation, more precaution, better communication between health-care professionals and patients, and improved  efforts to avoid introducing new EDCs into the environment. The report is based on a range of scientific evidence, which together provides strong evidence that even at environmentally relevant concentrations EDCs are involved in a range of health problems, including breast cancer. 

The statement highlights that

• Incidences of breast cancer (especially in men and women under 40 years of age), are increasing, and EDCs and other environmental factors may be contributing to this increase.

• During critical periods of mammary gland development susceptibility to the adverse effects of EDC exposure is increased.

• Some studies have identified EDCs that alter mammary development, increase susceptibility to tumors, and cause lactation problems later in life, following  exposures during critical periods of development. Examples include industrial chemicals, pollutants, herbicides, and pharmaceuticals

• Dioxin is an EDC that demonstrates the detrimental effects of early life exposure, including delayed pubertal breast tissue development, later life lactation and increased breast cancer risk.

• EDCs can act is a variety of ways to increase breast cancer risk; mechanisms of action are not well understood.

• EDCs with the strongest associations to altered mammary development are dioxins, pesticides such as DDT and DDE (no longer in use but still present in the environment), plasticisers including bisphenol A and phthalates, and perfluroooctanoic acid (used in non stick coatings).

• There is a critical need for testing mixtures of EDCs



1. Gore et al. (2015). EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. Endocrine Reviews 36 http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/er.2015-1010

2. Diamanti-Kandarakis et al. (2009). Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. Endocrine Reviews 30 (4) 293-342. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19502515

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