Some chemicals frequently used by consumers can affect the endocrine (hormonal) system, which may lead to adverse effects. These chemicals are known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). For example, some of these EDCs may interfere with the developmental processes of humans and wildlife. They represent a challenge, as their effects depend on both the level and timing of exposure, being especially critical when exposure occurs during development. Among chemicals used in applications such as pesticides, flame retardants, plastic additives, and cosmetics, a wide range have been identified to affect endocrine systems. Currently, potential adverse effects linked to exposure to these chemicals are being evaluated.
IPCP Project on EDCs
In March of 2016, the IPCP announced the start of a project on EDCs. In brief, the IPCP had been tasked by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to develop a series of overview reports synthesizing scientific knowledge regarding the environmental exposure and associated effects of EDCs. Details regarding the project can be found in the news post and in the press release document available for download. In June of 2018, the three developed overview reports were posted and made available for download from UNEP’s website.
The reports focus on a review of existing initiatives to identify EDCs and on existing scientific knowledge of the life cycles, environmental exposure, effects, legislation, and measures and gaps regarding EDCs and potential EDCs (as of July 2017):
- Overview Report I: Worldwide initiatives to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and potential EDCs
- Overview Report II: An overview of current scientific knowledge on the life cycles, environmental exposures, and environmental effects of select endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and potential EDCs
- Overview Report III: Existing national, regional and global regulatory frameworks addressing Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)
The second overview report was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology in Dübendorf, Switzerland.