The Shifting Roles of the EU, the US and California
Edited by David Vogel and Johan Swinnen
Chapter 8: Circuits of Regulation: Transatlantic Perspectives on Persistent Organic Pollutants and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Chris Ansell and Jörg Balsiger Two classes of chemicals raise special problems for chemicals management and pose serious concerns for the protection of biodiversity and biosafety – persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). POPs are highly toxic chemicals that persist in the natural environment, accumulate in the food chain and can be transported long distances (Adeola, 2004). EDCs are chemicals that disrupt animal and human endocrine (hormone) systems, often with serious development consequences. That POPs may be EDCs and vice versa is of special concern (Yoder, 2003). The chemical and environmental properties of these two chemical classes challenge traditional chemical regulation. The traditional regulation establishes safe levels of use or discharge. But this approach is not entirely satisfactory for POPs, because small amounts can persist in the environment and bioaccumulate, or for EDCs, because they may have serious effects at very low doses. Standards for pesticides and toxics are typically set using a dose response model that assumes a linear relationship between the amount of a pesticide and its toxicological or carcinogenic health effects. Yet the dose response effects of POPs and EDCs are poorly understood (Briggs, 2006; Vogel, 2004 and 2005). There is also considerable uncertainty about how POPs and EDCs move through the environment and interact with other environmental pollutants. These properties of POPs and EDCs present thorny issues for regulators on both sides of the Atlantic (Solomon and Huddle, 2002). As an emerging field of regulation, POPs and EDCs therefore give rise to both...
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