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Endocrine disruptors : from scientific concept to regulatory class Analysis of the political and regulatory history (1990-2019)

Résumé : This paper retraces the scientific, political, and regulatory history of endocrine disruptors from 1990 through 2019 and explains how they became a regulatory category. Much work has already examined their scientific history, estimates of the costs they generate, and their responsibility for modern human disorders. We propose an original approach derived from the sociology of science, based on interviews and the study of archival and more recent scientific, administrative, and organizational documents to understand why the definition and identification of endocrine disruptors remain a topic of debate even today. This work demonstrates that in the 1990s the invention and diffusion of the term "endocrine disruptors" inspired interaction between scientists from different disciplines (biologists, ecotoxicologists, epidemiologists, and endocrinologists) to create a transdisciplinary research community. Its transfer to the administrative, political, and media areas made these endocrine disruptors into a regulatory category. They entered European law in 2009 with Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market. At that point, scientific experts, European officials, and stakeholders had to develop new ways to characterize this category of chemical substances. The conventional management methods based on the identification of an adverse effect, as in the Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (for carcinogenic substances, for example), cannot be applied to these chemicals. Accordingly, a three-step identification process has been proposed that requires the identification first of an adverse effect and then of its endocrine mode of action, and finally the establishment of a causal link between the mechanism and the effect.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 9, 2020 - 2:30:58 PM
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Annabelle Demy. Endocrine disruptors : from scientific concept to regulatory class Analysis of the political and regulatory history (1990-2019). Environnement, Risques and Santé, John Libbey Eurotext, 2020, 19 (5), pp.349-357. ⟨10.1684/ers.2020.1467⟩. ⟨hal-02996056⟩



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