Scientists urge EC to not 'ignore the science' on EDCs

By Chris BARKER

- Last updated on GMT

Scientists urge EC to not 'ignore the science' on EDCs

Related tags: Endocrine disruptor, Us

71 toxicologists have written to the European Commission’s chief scientific advisor Anne Glover urging her to change plans to regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are allegedly present in many cosmetics.

The open letter by European and US scientists describes the many flaws in the Commission’s approach, including failure to consult relevant advisory committees before writing the regulations and ignoring the advice of scientific boards like EFSA.

Following a controversial WHO report earlier this year which suggested that EDCs could cause major health problems, the EC's draft regulations intend to regulate their use have been produced by the EU.

"Ignoring the science"

Daniel Dietrich, a toxicologist from the University Of Konstanz, Germany and a signatory of the letter, said in an interview with Chemistry World that the proposed regulations were based on: “emotional and pseudo-scientific debate.”

The open letter particularly highlighted the policy of not defining a safe limit on EDCs as going against: “Decades of experience and repeatable observations in exposure-‐response relationships in pharmacology and toxicology.”

It also condemned the practice of developing horizontal lists to define a chemical as an endocrine disruptor; pointing out that if this method ignores long-standing principles of taking a substance-specific approach in assessing the risks of a chemical.

Authorities rubbish EDC link to cosmetics

A recent survey by environmental group BUND, the German branch of Friends of the Earth, suggested that up to a third of cosmetics in Germany, Austria and Switzerland contain “endocrine disrupting”​ chemicals, with market leaders Beiersdorf and L’Oreal singled out for particular concern.  

However, recent statements from CTPA and German cosmetics industry organization, IKW have also ridiculed recent attempts to link cosmetics to endocrine disruption.

Dr Chris Flower, director general of the CTPA, informed CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that the substances present in beauty products are not capable of having any effect on the endocrine system.

He said: “None of the ingredients in cosmetics products are endocrine disruptors so there is no possibility of harm to health.  The WHO definition of an endocrine disruptor refers to causing harm to human health, and cosmetic products and their ingredients are simply not permitted to do this.”

“By law, only safe cosmetics are placed on the market and each one must undergo a specific safety assessment by an independent expert before it may be marketed.”

IKW skepticism

A statement by IKW, the German cosmetics industry association, condemns attempts to link the substances to health problems.

The communique reads: “The derived connection made by BUND, between the use of products with these ingredients and particular illnesses, is wrong. The amount of the substances that actually come into contact with the human body is so low that a hormone-like effect cannot occur.”

“Accepted scientific studies support this, as do the authorities that are responsible for health and safety, like the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.”

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Hair Care, Skin Care

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