Following a proposal from Denmark, the EU in February 2017 decided to recognize four phthalates as human endocrine disruptors. The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), has contributed a significant part of the documentation for the proposal. The decision is the first step towards tighter regulation on the use of these chemicals in consumer products.
Following a proposal from Denmark, EU’s member states in February 2017 recognized four phthalates (DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP) as human endocrine disruptors. The decision is based on evidence assembled in Denmark, much of which comes from the National Food Institute’s research and scientific advice on the harmful effects of these phthalates.
Because of the chemicals’ adverse effects on human reproductive health, the EU had previously included them on the so-called authorisation list under the EU’s chemicals legislation REACH, which sets a limit of 0.3% on their use in consumer products without special approval.
Recognizing the phthalates’ endocrine disrupting effects is the first step towards lowering the limit on their use in consumer products to 0.1%. More importantly though is the fact that the chemicals upon application from a company can only be approved for use if the assessment takes their endocrine disrupting effects into account.
Recognizing more chemicals as human endocrine disruptors
The four phthalates are the first chemicals to be recognized by the EU as human endocrine disruptors under REACH.
The Danish environment and food authorities have worked for many years to have the EU regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals. The EU Commission in June 2016 proposed criteria for when a chemical is considered to be an endocrine disruptor in pesticides and biocides – a proposal, which is currently under consideration.
The National Food Institute has for many years worked with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency to produce the necessary documentation to evaluate the harmful effects of different endocrine disrupting chemicals, partly in relation to the EU regulation of these chemicals.
The National Food Institute conducts research into chemicals’ endocrine disrupting effects and advises the authorities on endocrine disrupters. The institute also contributes to the development of national and international guidelines on how to test and evaluate chemicals’ harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Read more on the institute’s website about how the Research Group for Molecular and Reproductive Toxicology contributes to a healthier future by further developing methods to assess the risks associated with chemicals and chemical cocktails.