Endocrine disruptors (EDs) were defined in 1991 by Theo Colborn and the multi-disciplinary scientists of his "Wingspread Call". They have shown the influence of certain classes of pollutants that interfere with hormonal systems and spread in ecosystems.
In 2002, the WHO proposed an official definition: "An endocrine disruptor is a substance or a mixture of substances, which alters the functions of the endocrine system and thus induces harmful effects in an intact organism, in its offspring or in the breast. of (sub) - populations ". The European Commission confirmed this definition in November 2018.
EPs are recognized by the scientific community, but they pose unprecedented problems in risk assessment.
Their action can occur at sub/threshold doses and is often determined by associated co-factors including when the PE acts on the body. It is this fundamental uncertainty that prevents the application of the precautionary principle.
There is in fact no scientific evaluation possible on a large scale and over a long period of time of these risks, which precisely vary undetermined co-factors.
Looking back about fifty years, correlations have been established between the invasive use of certain synthetic molecules in the direct or near environment (benzene in unleaded gasoline, bromine as a flame retardant , bisphenol A as packaging plastic, chlordecone as insecticide, etc.) and the occurrence of metabolic diseases directly related to hormonal dysfunction such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, delayed puberty, brain development , congenital malformations, etc.
The period of conception, pregnancy and infancy are critical periods when exposure to PEs can have immediate, delayed deleterious effects and can also be transferred to future generations by epigenetic modification.