Special seminar: “The EDCs story: the downfall of an EU policy?”
By, Angeliki Lyssimachou, PAN Europe
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals present in our environment and everyday products able to alter the normal function of the hormonal system and give rise to health disorders and disease in organisms, including humans. EDCs are particularly dangerous if exposure takes place during the early life stages, when the organism is still under development. With endocrine-related diseases on the rise -such as breast and prostate cancer, cognitive disorders, reproductive disorders, infertility, obesity and diabetes- in 2009 the EU decided to regulate the use of these chemicals and protect human and environmental health, starting with pesticides. After all, some of the most documented cases of endocrine disruption in wildlife are due to pesticides exposure. The only element missing was a set of scientific criteria to identify which chemicals are EDCs, which the European Commission had deliver by 2013. Not only the Commission missed its deadline, but due to intense industry lobbying mainly by the chemical industry and trade sector, it decided to change key elements of the Pesticide regulation and regulate as little EDC pesticides as possible, if any. This presentation aims to highlight the urgency to regulate human and environmental exposure to EDCs and give an insight in the power of corporations and industry lobbying.
Angeliki Lyssimachou is an environmental scientist/toxicologist with more than 12 years of experience in the research field of endocrine disruption in aquatic ecosystems. She has an MSc in Applied Marine Science and a PhD in Environmental Science/Ecotoxicology and has worked as a researcher in different laboratories across Europe. The last 6 years, she has been actively involved in issues related to social ecology, pollution and environmental policies. Since 2014, she works for Pesticides Action Network Europe (PAN Europe), in Brussels, which is the regional centre of a global network of organisations working together to replace the use of harmful pesticides with ecologically friendly alternatives. In PAN she works on toxicity issues related to pesticide exposure and runs the political campaign to ban endocrine disrupting pesticides.