On December 22, 2014 the peer-reviewed, open access journal Environmental Health published a commentary entitled “A path forward in the debate over health impacts of endocrine disrupting chemicals”. In the commentary, a group of 13 scientists with broad expertise reviewed the various aspects of the debate about endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The group explains that the intense debate concerning the potential health effects of EDCs seems pitched between two seemingly mutually exclusive perspectives, as recently illustrated by several scientific studies that quickly prompted the publication of critical editorials. Nevertheless, when the former chief scientific adviser to the EU Anne Glover brought together representatives of the two sides in October 2013, it became clear that there might be a surprising level of consensus (FPF reported). In the new commentary, the authors identified key areas of the EDC debate. The first area is about the definitions of the commonly used terms. The second area focuses on elements of hormone action. The third addresses the information required to establish sufficient evidence of harm. Lastly, the fourth area highlights the need for transparent and systematic ways to review the literature on EDCs. The authors conclude that the debate on the issue of EDCs is currently not productive. They propose various actions towards the common path. For instance, they recommend to define an “EDC” by focusing on hormone action instead of hormone concentrations and to explain the term “endocrine system” in a way that emphasizes the role of hormones in development and the importance of timing of hormone action. Further, they suggest to decide on only one definition for “low dose” and to find an agreement on the rules of evidence sufficient to conclude a causal relationship between environmental exposures and health outcomes.

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Zoeller, T. R. et al. (2014). “A path forward in the debate over health impacts of endocrine disrupting chemicals.Environmental Health (published online December 22, 2014). (open access)