Adoption of ENVI report on endocrine disruptors

On 25/01/2013, in All posts, by Animal Welfare Intergroup

azOn Wednesday 23rd January, the Environment Committee has voted on a draft report by Åsa Westlund on the Protection of Public Health from Endocrine Disrupters. This draft report has also been the issue of debate of the December 2012 Intergroup meeting.

Endocrine disrupters are chemical substances that may interfere with the hormone system in humans and wildlife and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are believed to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. Various tests are used, including in vitro methods but also animal methods, to screen substances for interactions with hormones (20 – 60 animals per test) and those which affect the reproduction process (5500 animals per test). However, endocrine disruptive effects in humans are difficult to reconcile with the results from animal studies[1]. The animal tests cannot be relied upon to accurately predict effects on people as the chemical effects on the endocrine system can differ dramatically between species.

The Intergroup welcomes the fact that the Environment Committee has supported the animal welfare related amendments which had been tabled among others by the Intergroup Vice-President Andrea Zanoni MEP. The adopted amendments call for the development and use of alternative non-animal test methods during safety testing and the determination of endocrine disrupting chemicals, and only using animal tests as a last resort. They also support the work of EURL ECVAM- theEuropean Union Reference Laboratory on Alternatives to Animal Testing.

The report also highlights the importance to take necessary steps for the protection of wildlife from endocrine disrupting chemicals.

[1] Dietrich, D.R. 2010 Courage for simplification and imperfection in the 21st Century Assessment of ‘Endocrine Disruption’. ALTEX 27, 4/10


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