Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL): Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: Turning a public health challenge into opportunities for prevention


WHO European Region

Reason for initiation

Potential health benefits of reducing our exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and the huge reductions in certain common health problems that would arise from a ban on EDCs are common messages from the health and scientific community.

Cost on inaction could be more than €150 billion per year in the European Union, according to the Endocrine Society. HEAL's own report, "Health costs in the European Union – How much is related to EDCs?" has been used in high-level policy dialogue in Brussels, Madrid, Frankfurt and London.

Strategies in place or planned

Using the WHO and UNEP state of the science report, HEAL highlighted the key health problems associated with EDCs:

  • Reproductive and fertility problems
  • Abnormalities of the penis and testicles in baby boys 
  • Cancer of the breast, prostate, testes
  • Children's behavioural disorders, such as autism and ADHD
  • Obesity and diabetes

Outcomes and next steps

HEAL's education and advocacy work has resulted in greater public awareness and engagement from health –affected groups, ranging from cancer charities, clinicians to farmers harmed by toxic chemicals.

Key milestones include:

  • European Cancer League and national cancer charities in Belgium, UK and Malta make the case: curbing exposure to EDCs should become a central part of cancer prevention strategy in Europe.
  • EDC-Free coalition provides online tool to gather over 20 000 voices asking the EU to remove hormone-disrupting chemicals from our lives to protect our health.
  • Farmers affected by pesticide exposure - Phyto-victimes (victims of pesticide exposure) in France called for bans on hormone-disrupting and other harmful agricultural chemicals
  • Participation in World Cancer Day in Malta: Environmental policy to prevent cancer-causing pollution — Action for Breast Cancer Foundation.

Organization(s) involved 

  • Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
  • Endocrine Society
  • European Cancer League