Weight-of-evidence approach aims to identify harmful compounds in disinfectants and material preservatives

The European commission has adopted a set of criteria to identify harmful biocides and remove them from the market. Insecticides, insect repellents, disinfectants, as well as preservatives for wood, plastic and fibres will come under scrutiny as potential endocrine disruptors.

To assess potential endocrine disruptors – chemicals that interfere with proper human hormonal functioning and can lead to illnesses ranging from cancer to mental disorders – data from animal trials, in vitro experiments and theoretical studies will be considered. Data should be weighted in terms of its quality, reliability, reproducibility and relevance. The criteria will apply to new products and those currently undergoing evaluation.

The European parliament and council now have two months to consider the draft criteria and suggest changes. Similar criteria for pesticides adopted earlier this year were met with concern by the Endocrine Society, who stated that arbitrary exemptions are made for certain chemicals.