The 7th International Fresenius Conference on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) took place on November 15-16, 2016 in Bonn, Germany. Highlights included discussions on the outcomes from the 2016 Pellston workshop on hazard and risk assessment of EDCs, and on the European Commission (EC)-proposed criteria for the identification of EDCs (FPF reported).

The main outcome from the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Pellston Workshop “Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Substances,” held in February 2016 in Florida, U.S., was a consensus reached by leading scientists that “environmental risk assessment …  [for EDCs] is scientifically sound.”

As Philip Lightowlers reports in his article published on November 23, 2016 by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, the Pellston workshop’s results were summarized by consultant ecotoxicologist Peter Matthiessen at the Fresenius EDC conference. “Despite the need for continuing development of tools, our workshop concluded that, in most cases, it is possible to establish safe levels for EDCs,” Matthiessen said, and added that EDCs “do have threshold concentrations for populations and, with adequate data, conducting environmental risk assessment of them is scientifically sound.” Lightowlers further informs that Matthiessen told Chemical Watch that “if such a consensus was possible for the environment . . . then a similar approach for human health cannot be far behind.”

However, at the Fresenius conference “the only regulatory voice supporting the inclusion of potency” in the EC’s EDC identification criteria was coming from the United Kingdom (UK) Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Ian Indans, as Philip Lightowlers informs in another article published on November 23, 2016 by Chemical Watch. Indans maintained that the UK stands for “regulation … based on risk and not hazard,” a position which was “strongly backed by pesticide industry representatives” at the Fresenius conference. Jean-Pierre Busnardo from DuPont Crop Protection, speaking for the European Crop Protection Agency (ECPA) said: “Industry does not like the current proposed criteria as they are hazard-based. We like risk-based regulation. The element of potency is lacking and will catch a large number of products.”

Representatives of other countries as well as NGOs expressed strong support for strictly hazard-based EDC identification criteria.

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Philip Lightowlers (November 23, 2016). “Little support from national authorities for potency in EDC criteria.Chemical Watch

Philip Lightowlers (November 23, 2016). “Environmental risk assessment of EDCs ‘scientifically sound’.Chemical Watch

Roberts, M., and Leopold, A. (2016).”Summary of the SETAC Pellston Workshop on Endocrine-Active Substances.” SETAC Globe 17 (published April 14, 2016).