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Endocrine disruptors

Know how to detect them

Endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors

Know how to detect them

Endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors have been a source of inquiry for many years.

How can they be defined? What are their effects?

Present in drinking water, the sea, cosmetics and food, they raise many questions. The FEBEA, the French Federation of Beauty Enterprises, has tried to answer these questions in an article dated November 2019.

Several substances have already been evaluated by the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), as being potentially endocrine-disrupting substances:

  • Melatonin
  • Several parabens,
  • Triclosan
What is an Endocrine Disruptor?

The definition given by the WHO is as follows:

“An endocrine disruptor is an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub) populations.”

To date, the European Chemicals Agency has identified 16 substances or families of substances with effects on the environment and/or human health. It is important to note that a substance or family of substances can include thousands of molecules.

These substances are present in a large number of everyday products and can also be found in water.    

What Effects do Endocrine Disruptors Have?

A great deal of research is underway to find out their impact on health, particularly on the reproductive system. Endocrine disruptors are believed to disrupt the functioning of sex hormones, leading to early puberty, sperm abnormalities, reduced fertility or malformations. They are also thought to be involved in certain pathologies such as cancer or obesity.

How Can Endocrine Disruptors be Detected in Water?

The bioassays developed by Tame-Water® currently represent the only reliable solution for the detection of endocrine disruptors present in drinking water  or wastewater and, by extension, the only tool for analysing their impact on living organisms.

Tame-Water® has developed the Vigiwater Solutions analysis service which provides precise monitoring of endocrine disruptors.

Consumer Safety and Regulations:

The SCCS, Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, is mandated by the European Commission to confirm or exclude the potential toxicity of a substance.
It relies on existing scientific literature and on any additional data in order to give an opinion on adverse effects for each case studied.

Thus CMR substances —carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic— are defined by the adverse effects they cause: malignant tumours, genetic mutation or reproductive toxicity.

Endocrine disrupting substances are defined by their mechanism of action: the qualification of these substances as such can only be proven if the adverse effect they cause and the link between this effect and the mechanism of action are identified.

Assessing the effects of a substance is therefore essential, as it is the only way to identify endocrine disruptors among the multitude of substances.

The European Commission relies, among others, on the opinions of the SCCS to develop regulations. 

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