Denmark: We need an overview of endocrine disruptors threatening human health and the environment

Publiceret 02-06-2020

Denmark wants stricter rules for endocrine disruptors. In order to ban them, we must first identify them and know where they are used. To help achieve this, a new international website is launched today following a Danish initiative.

Toys, computers, sunscreen. Endocrine disruptors can be found in a number of products that we use everyday. And they are difficult to avoid completely. These substances can affect reproductive health, and cause early-onset puberty, metabolic disorders, obesity, malformed genitals in boys, and many other conditions.

For many years, Denmark has been urging for stricter EU regulation of these substances. Today, the Danish EPA is launching a website that lists endocrine disruptors in cooperation with authorities in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. 

“Progress in protection of human health and the environment against endocrine disruptors is way too slow. For this reason we’re now launching our own lists of these substances in collaboration with countries that share our frustration with the lack of progress in the EU. I hope that all Member States and industry in particular will use our lists to avoid these harmful substances until EU regulation is in place” says Lea Wermelin, Danish Minister for Environment. 

The first of its kind
No EU list of identified endocrine disruptors is available and only few substances have been officially identified as endocrine disruptors. The new website aims at creating transparency and disseminating knowledge about substances that have been identified as endocrine disruptors or that are in the process of being evaluated. Industry can use the website to replace known endocrine disruptors with safer alternatives. 

“Denmark has had strong focus on endocrine disruptors for many years. We’ve prioritised research and worked to increase our knowledge about these substances. And we’ve put constant pressure on the EU as we can’t keep on waiting. This new website brings us a step closer. It’s a tool that can help speed up the process towards stronger regulation,” says Lea Wermelin.

Together with ministers from other Member States behind the new website, Lea Wermelin has written to the European Commission proposing a collaboration on further development of these lists.

Facts:

    • No official European list of endocrine disruptors exists.
    • Endocrine disruptors can be found in cosmetics, cleaning agents, food contact materials and plastic products, etc.
    • The new website contains three lists:
      • 1. Substances identified as endocrine disrupters at EU level.
      • 2. Substances under evaluation for endocrine disrupting properties under an EU chemicals legislation.
      • 3. Substances considered as endocrine disruptors by one or more of the participating countries.
    • At the time of launch, there are 19, 84, and 9 substances on the three lists, respectively.
    • For the authorities to be able to regulate the substances, they must first be identified and prioritised.
    • In December 2019, the European Commission began a Fitness Check of all EU legislation relating to endocrine disruptors. The Commission will examine whether the EU chemicals legislations are adequate to ensure the goal of minimising human and environmental exposure to endocrine disruptors and whether there is coherence between the legislations. The results are expected by mid 2020.

For more information:

Press advisor, Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, Rune Gleerup, tel.: +45 91 33 47 66, email: