Endocrine disruptor assessment

Some substances known as endocrine disruptors can alter the function(s) of the hormonal system and may cause adverse health effects in humans and wildlife. Under REACH, endocrine disruptors may be identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs), where there is scientific evidence of probable serious effects to human health or the environment.

Under the Biocidal Products Regulation, criteria have been developed for the identification of endocrine disruptors for human health and non-target organisms. All biocidal active substances have to undergo a formal ED assessment. You can follow the status of biocides assessments at the Biocidal Active Substances page.

The Endocrine Disruptor Expert Group supports Member States in their ED assessments. Substances undergoing an ED assessment under the REACH or Biocidal Products regulations that have been brought for discussion to ECHA’s ED Expert Group are included in the ED assessment list.

The endocrine disruptor concern

Endocrine disruptors interfere 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 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 to be 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.