In a commentary entitled “Science and policy on endocrine disrupters must not be mixed: a reply to a «common sense» intervention by toxicology journal editors”, a group of leading international endocrine disrupter experts supports the underlying scientific justification for amendments to chemical risk assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The article appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health on August 27, 2013 (Bergman et al. 2013). The commentary is a direct response to an earlier editorial that appeared in several toxicology journals (Dietrich et al. 2013; the FPF reported). In the editorial, toxicologists criticized the planned European policy action regarding EDCs as scientifically unfounded and threatening to chemical risk assessment.

Bergman and colleagues reject this notion in the present commentary. In particular, they criticize that Dietrich et al. ignore scientific evidence and well established principles of chemical risk assessment, and overly simplify the endocrine system. The endocrine disruptor experts stress that endocrine systems play a central role in epigenetic programming during development. “Disruption of these programming events can lead to irreversible effects that go far beyond disturbances of homeostasis” according to the rebuttal. EDCs have been associated in numerous studies with far-reaching effects as consequences of early exposures.

In addition, the commentary addresses the issues of thresholds/no thresholds for EDCs, adverse effects, assuming that animal studies are relevant for humans, and the distinction between hazard assessment and risk management where scientific matters and political issues should clearly be separated.


Bergman, A., et al. (2013). “Science and policy on endocrine disrupters must not be mixed: a reply to a “common sense” intervention by toxicology journal editors.” Environmental Health 12(1): 69.

Dietrich et al. (2013). “Scientifically unfounded precaution drives European Commission’s recommendations on EDC regulation, while defying common sense, well-established science and risk assessment principles.” Toxicology Research 2(5): 297-298.

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Opinion : Scientists call European Commission’s proposed EDC regulation over-precautionary. FPF news, July 25, 2013.