GENEVA, SWITZERLAND -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for additional research into endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
Its report, The State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, produced in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), calls for more research to understand fully the associations between EDCs and specific diseases and disorders.
The report notes that with more comprehensive assessments and better testing methods, potential disease risks could be reduced, with substantial savings to public health.
"Chemical products are increasingly part of modern life and support many national economies but the unsound management of chemicals challenges the achievement of key development goals, and sustainable development for all," said Achim Steiner, UN undersecretary-general and UNEP executive director, in a news release.
"Investing in new testing methods and research can enhance understanding of the costs of exposure to EDCs, and assist in reducing risks, maximizing benefits and spotlighting more intelligent options and alternatives that reflect a transition to a green economy," he added.
Clare Dimmer, chairwoman of cancer charity Breast Cancer UK, said: "This landmark report sounds alarm bells over our routine exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and uncovers a glaring gap between the high level of scientific concern and present government policy.
"Breast Cancer UK calls for our daily exposure to carcinogens and EDCs to be included as a risk factor for breast cancer in the Strategy for Cancer and a ban on the use of bisphenol A, one well known EDC that has already been the focus of huge amounts of research, in all food and drinks packaging."
In response to the WHO's report, Philip Law, public and industrial affairs director at the British Plastics Federation (BPF), highlighted European Union risk assessments "which have examined chemicals used in plastics in considerable depth and have validated their continued use."