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The Endocrine Disruptor Expert Group focuses on substances with endocrine disrupting properties. The most widely accepted definition for endocrine disruptors is the one by the International Programme for Chemical Safety (IPCS, 2002): "Endocrine disruptors have been defined as exogenous substances that alter function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently cause adverse health effects in an intact organism or its progeny, or (sub)populations". At present, the European Commission is developing criteria for the identification of such endocrine disrupting substances that require regulatory action.

Endocrine disruptors may be identified on a case-by-case basis as substances of very high concern (SVHCs), where there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment, which give rise to an equivalent level of concern to CMR or PBT/vPvB substances (under Article 57(f) of REACH Regulation).

 

The Endocrine Disruptor concern

Endocrine disruptors interfere in some way with hormone action, and in doing so can produce adverse effects on human and wildlife health. The endocrine system is a complex network of glands, hormones and receptors. It provides the key communication and control link between the nervous system and bodily functions such as reproduction, immunity, metabolism and behaviour. The endocrine system controls growth and development during childhood, regulation of bodily functions in adulthood, and the reproductive process. The main evidence suggesting that exposure to chemicals can lead to the disruption of endocrine function comes from changes seen in a number of wildlife species. In humans, endocrine disruptors have been suggested as being responsible for apparent increases seen in human endocrine-related diseases and disorders over recent decades. Identifying chemicals with endocrine disrupting potential that require regulatory action among all the chemicals used remains a significant challenge.

 

Establishment and role

The Endocrine Disruptor (ED) Expert Group provides informal, non-binding scientific advice on questions related to the identification of endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals. This advice does not anticipate or interfere with decision-making under the REACH Regulation, which exclusively remains the responsibility of the competent bodies designated in the REACH Regulation.

The ED Expert Group was established in February 2014 with the support of the Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL) and the Competent Authorities for Biocides. The expert group is coordinated and hosted by ECHA. Advice of the ED Expert Group on issues in relation to ED assessment may be requested by the participants of the ED Expert Group, EU Member State competent authorities under the REACH Regulation and the Biocides Regulation, and ECHA.

 

Mandate

The expert group will provide informal and non-binding scientific advice on questions related to the identification of endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals and, in particular, on:

  • Questions related to screening methods/activities to identify potential endocrine disruptors (e.g. for the CoRAP and/or Candidate List)
  • Questions related to the development of integrated approaches to testing and assessment of endocrine disrupting properties
  • Feedback and recommendations on complex (specific/generic) scientific issues related to information and (tiered) testing needs for potential endocrine disruptors (e.g. under dossier or substance evaluation or under the evaluation by the evaluating competent authority of a biocides active substance application)
  • Specific questions on the interpretation of test data as well as other relevant information in relation to the identification of endocrine disrupting properties (e.g. during the development of an SVHC dossier or a biocides active substance evaluation).

 

Participation

Nominated experts from the following organisations are currently participating in the ED Expert Group:

  • EU Member State Competent Authorities and EEA country representatives
  • European Commission (DG Environment (ENV), DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW), DG Health and Food Safety (SANTE))
  • The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
  • Stakeholder organisations:
    • ChemTrust
    • Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
    • Humane Society International
    • European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
    • European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
    • European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC)
    • The European Chemicals Industry Council (CEFIC)
    • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland (FOPH)
  • Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland (FOEN)

Experts nominated by the EU Member State competent authorities, the European Commission, other agencies of the European Union and ECHA's Accredited Stakeholder Organisations can participate in the meetings. For further information on the nomination procedure, please contact: ed_eg (at) echa.europa.eu.

 

 

Activities

In its meetings, the ED Expert Group discusses specific substance cases that are mainly suggested to the agenda by the participants from the EU Member State competent authorities carrying out ED assessments and needing advice. By March 2015 the group has discussed altogether 16 substances, 15 of which are included in the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP). The outcomes of the assessments are published in the Public Activities Coordination Tool (PACT) when finalised.

The ED Expert Group also contributes to the development and improvement of mass screening approaches and criteria for searching the ECHA databases for potential ED substances. Further, the group is involved in assessing the screening results and selecting those substances for which a more in-depth assessment of their potential ED properties either under the CoRAP or on a voluntary basis is required.

 

Meeting Dates and Reports

The ED Expert Group meets three times per year:

 

Meeting Date Report
Meetings 2017
12th meeting 15-16 November 2017 TBC  
11th meeting 10-11 October 2017 (cancelled)  
10th meeting 3-4 May 2017 (cancelled)  
Meetings 2016
9th meeting 10-11 November 2016 Download
8th meeting 28-29 September 2016 N/A
7th meeting 21-22 April 2016 (cancelled) N/A
Meetings 2015
6th meeting 21-22 October 2015 N/A
5th meeting 2-3 September 2015 N/A
4th meeting 24-25 February 2015 N/A
Meetings 2014
3rd meeting 11-12 November 2014 N/A
2nd meeting 22-23 May 2014 N/A
1st meeting 13-14 February 2014 N/A