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Everyday chemical threat finds global audience

Global regulation of chemicals that can cause irreversible damage to unborn babies has been the consequence of world-leading research by Brunel’s Institute for the Environment.

The institute pioneered identification of alkylphenols in industrial detergents, and phthalates ad parabens in care products, as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) – those that may interfere with the production or activity of hormones in the endocrine system.

Meanwhile, more recent research at Brunel has shown that approximately 800 chemicals in modern commerce could be EDCs and therefore affect environmental and public health.

This research has underpinned decision-making in the European Union, USA and United Nations, specifically the UN Environmental Programme. It has helped raise awareness of the existence of EDCs , demonstrated the strength of evidence for harmful effects and developed ways of handling the chemicals within the framework of EU regulations.

Professors Susan Jobling and Andreas Kortenkamp led the research and have both presented their findings before the UN in support of a motion to adopt EDCS as a major policy issue under the Strategic Approach to Chemical Management.

This approach has since been adopted by the International Conference on Chemicals Management to ensure that by 2020 chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimise significant impact on the environment and human health.