In June 2005, over 100 research scientists actively involved in research on endocrine disrupters from 15 countries issued a joint, signed statement raising concerns about endocrine disruption. "In view of the magnitude of the potential risks associated with endocrine disrupters, we strongly believe that scientific uncertainty should not delay precautionary action on reducing the exposures to and the risks from endocrine disrupters."
Their analysis is available on the EDEN website (funded by the European Commission).
In their statement, the scientists conclude that current safety standards are ill-equipped to deal with risks caused by endocrine disrupters and that current testing procedures may lead to serious underestimations of risk.
Effects on wildlife are well-documented. People are exposed, including early on in life when sensitivity to disruption can be especially high. There are inherent difficulties in establishing causality in humans... having to do with the unethical nature of planned experiments on people, the reality of ubiquitous mixtures each component of which may contribute to effects, long latencies between exposure and effect, etc. such that real impacts may easily be missed. The Prague Declaration scientists "are convinced that failure to demonstrate direct links between hormone-related disorders and exposure to chemicals should not be taken to indicate an absence of risks."
They conclude with a series of policy and research recommendations:
- "Scientific uncertainty should not delay precautionary action for risk reduction."
- "Though screening assays are not adequate as a basis for risk assessment, they should be utilised to trigger precautionary regulatory action on the basis of the rebuttable assumption that positive results may indicate risks."
- "The substances already known to have endocrine disrupting properties should be included in the proposed European chemicals regulation REACH, and subject to the authorisation procedure."
- "Steps should be taken to restrict inherently the use of persistent chemicals, e.g. brominated flame retardants in order to halt their build-up in humans and the
- "The release of endocrine disrupters from sewage treatment works should be reduced significantly."
- "Relevant data from animal testing, including by industry laboratories, should be made publicly available whenever possible."
- More data are required to obtain a complete picture of the full array of endocrine disrupters in the environment. This should include gathering of data on body burden of EDCs that would allow geographic comparisons across regions with marked differences in relevant health disorders.
- "Further understanding of the possible modes of action of endocrine disrupters is required in order to recognise organism functions that might be at risk. "
- "The effects of endocrine disruptors on a wider array of cellular signalling pathways needs to be elucidated, in particular those closely linked to disease conditions."
- "The development of new assays and screening methods for the identification of endocrine disrupters relevant to humans and wildlife should be pursued with urgency."
- "More mechanistic information regarding how endocrine disruptors are involved in human disease is required."
- Further systematic work on mixture effects will be needed to underpin better risk assessment procedures.
- "The consequences of endocrine disruption in wildlife for the balance and well-being of ecosystems should be pursued with urgency because some case studies have already shown that endocrine disrupters pose a threat for biodiversity."
- "In wildlife research, mechanistic work linking effects seen at the organism level to population-level and ecosystems effects should be encouraged. "
- Special programmes focusing on the detection of possible effects on the newborn child giving rise to problems in childhood and adulthood should be initiated in order to overcome the challenge of possible long temporary breach between exposure episode and overt adverse outcome.