Developing Science-Informed Policy Responses to Curb Endocrine Disruption in Freshwater
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are contaminants of emerging concerns (CECs) that can affect the normal function of the endocrine system which can lead to adverse effect in humans and in wildlife. In humans, EDCs are associated with disease outcomes such as fertility loss, hormone-sensitive cancers, thyroid malfunctions, obesity, and neurodevelopment impacts. In wildlife, similar effects are occurring which can have negative impacts on population of species - raising concerns for the integrity of ecosystems and biodiversity.
While the knowledge about the effects and presence of EDCs in freshwater are increasingly documented across the world, policymakers are searching for ways to address the challenges of EDCs in freshwater. This is explained by the many challenges posed by EDCs such as their effects at low concentrations, their interaction in complex mixtures, as well as the variety of chemical class they encompass (e.g., pharmaceuticals, pesticides, hormones, consumer products). Collaboration across sectors and disciplines, as well as new forms of water quality regulation are required to tackle the issue of EDCs in freshwater.
The workshop on “Developing science-informed policy responses to curb endocrine disruption in freshwater” aimed to gather policymakers, academics, industry, IGOs and NGOs to provide guidance on monitoring tools, policy instruments and country practices to manage endocrine disruption in the freshwater environment. The workshop was a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual participation. The objectives of the workshop were to:
- Build a policy-relevant knowledge base on endocrine disruption in freshwater and its impacts on ecosystems and human health.
- Identify lessons learnt and good practices from country case studies on monitoring and policy approaches on freshwater.
- Explore policy options to advance from monitoring and data collection to mitigating endocrine disruption.
The outcomes of the workshop will inform the OECD report on Policy Responses to Endocrine Disruption in Freshwater.
Session 1: Making the case for policy responses
- Ecosystem impacts of endocrine disruptors - Dr Minna Saaristo, Senior Scientist – Emerging contaminants, EPA Victoria, Australia
- Perspectives on human health and Sustainable Development Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation- Dr Astrid Wester, Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Session 2: Monitoring and assessing endocrine disruption in freshwater
- Effect-based monitoring of mixtures of endocrine disruptors in water– Professor Dr. Beate Escher, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
- Effect-based SIMONI strategy for risk assessment of endocrine disrupters and other micropollutants - Dr Ron van der Oost, Toxicologist, Waternet (water company for Amsterdam and surrounding area)
Session 3: Mainstreaming effect-based methods in policies
- Market trends of new technologies - Dr Milo de Baat, Researcher, KWR Water Research Institute, the Netherlands
Session 4: Contrasting and comparing country responses to managing EDCs
- An analytical framework to compare policy approaches - Julie Robitaille, OECD Environment Directorate
- Case study on managing endocrine disruption and endocrine disruptors - Dr Joanne Parrott, Senior Research Scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Case study on managing endocrine disruption and endocrine disruptors -Dr Eszter Simon, Scientific Officer, Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Switzerland
Session 5: Multilateral approaches to support action by the environmental sector
- Steps towards better management of estrogenic effects in EU surface waters - Helen Clayton, Policy Officer, DG Environment, European Commission
- Critical elements to facilitate endorsement and implementation of bioassays in regulatory policies - Dr Alvine Mehinto, Head of Toxicology Department, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority
- Essential partnerships between science, policy and sectors - Valeria Dulio, Executive Secretary of the NORMAN Association, INERIS - Direction Milieu et Impacts sur le Vivant
Please contact Marijn Korndewal, Policy Analyst: [email protected]