The German Institute for Risk Evaluation (BfR) published a press release on March 22, 2013 in which it suggests a three step evaluation of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The statement argues that hazard identification, followed by hazard characterization and subsequent regulatory action are able to identify EDCs and evaluate their hazard potential. They argue that two issues need to be addressed, namely that the substance is indeed hormonally active and secondly, that this activity results in an adverse effect. Substances that fulfill these criteria are identified as EDCs. The subsequent hazard characterization suggested by the BfR includes considerations of specificity, severity, reversibility and consistency of effects as well as the potency of the substance. The approach proposed by the BfR requires individual evaluation of each substance, which may be an EDC. It is argued in the press release that the proposal goes further than that suggested by the European Commission in that it uses a complex decision matrix in a transparent and precise manner.

The consideration of potency in the risk assessment of EDCs is discussed controversially. Health advocacy groups argue against its use because EDCs act on top of an already active endocrine system and therefore have no thresholds. Also, they consider that mixture effects cannot be included adequately when potency is evaluated for each substance individually.

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BfR (german)

A CHEM trust and HEAL Briefing: challenges and solutions in the regulation of chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties (pdf)