On January 30, 2015 the peer-reviewed Journal of Cleaner Production published a review article highlighting elimination of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as a prerequisite for a sustainable future. Vandenberg and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts, U.S. first focus on the history of EDCs, including information about how EDCs were defined and identified, and provide a short summary of the current knowledge on EDCs. The authors then introduce the issue of developmental plasticity, which suggests that a developing organism is able to adapt to various environmental insults in order to survive. Studies of EDCs have shown that developing organisms have a tremendous capacity to adapt, however, not without substantial costs (e.g. reduced growth in tadpoles). Further, current methods used to study EDCs and interdisciplinary approaches to address the problem of EDCs are discussed. Special focus is given to recent efforts by environmental health scientists and green chemists to work together to solve some of the toughest problems in the field of endocrine disruption. The authors argue that using our 21st century tools and sustainability frameworks will help to avoid “regrettable replacements” such as the substitution of bisphenol A with equally damaging bisphenol S and eventually provide society with workable solutions to the issue of EDCs. A truly sustainable future demands that exposures to EDCs are eliminated whenever possible, the authors conclude.

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Vandenberg, L.N. et al. (2015). “Plastic bodies in a plastic world: multi-disciplinary approaches to study endocrine disrupting chemicals.Journal of Cleaner Production (published online January 30, 2015).