On July 21, 2020, the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology published two Series papers on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

In the first paper, Linda Kahn from the Department of Pediatrics, New York University, US, together with colleagues from the US, Japan, and France, summarized the evidence on EDC implications for human health, focusing in particular on the new studies appearing after 2015, when a review by “an expert panel commissioned by the Endocrine Society led to the identification of 15 exposure-outcome associations with a probability of causation.” The new review aimed “to update the 2015 findings” and “to expand on the previous report by [including several additional outcomes as well as] identifying new exposure-outcome associations of concern, especially with regard to chemicals that were not widely researched several years ago.”

Kahn and colleagues conclude that “evidence is particularly strong for relations between perfluoroalkyl substances and child and adult obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, gestational diabetes, reduced birthweight, reduced semen quality, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, and breast cancer. Evidence also exists for relations between bisphenols and adult diabetes, reduced semen quality, and polycystic ovarian syndrome; phthalates and prematurity, reduced anogenital distance in boys, childhood obesity, and impaired glucose tolerance; organophosphate pesticides and reduced semen quality; and occupational exposure to pesticides and prostate cancer. Greater evidence has accumulated . . . for cognitive deficits and attention-deficit disorder in children following prenatal exposure to bisphenol A, organophosphate pesticides, and polybrominated flame retardants.” The authors point out that the probability and strength of these exposure-outcome relations need to be systematically evaluated and reiterate “the growing evidence [that] supports urgent action to reduce exposure to EDCs.”

In the second paper, Chrisopher Kassotis from the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, US, together with colleagues from the US, Spain, and France, set out to examine “economic, regulatory, and policy approaches to limit human EDC exposure” and to suggest “potential improvements.” They conclude that “minimization of human exposure is unlikely without a clear overarching definition for EDCs and relevant pre-marketing test requirements.” Therefore, the authors “call for a multifaceted international programme . . .  to address the effects of EDCs on human health” and emphasize that this needs to be “an approach that would proactively identify hazards for subsequent regulation.”

Read more

Sandee LaMotte (July 22, 2020). “Plastics and pesticides: Health impacts of synthetic chemicals in US products doubled in last 5 years, study finds.CNN


Kahn, L., et al. (2020). “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: implications for human health.The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 8: 703-718.

Kassotis, C., et al. (2020). “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: economic, regulatory, and policy implications.The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 8: 719-730.