VCI overview

Current state of scientific knowledge on “endocrine active substances”

An endocrine active substance has a hormonal or hormone-like activity. VCI's overview on “endocrine active substances” examines the current state of scientific knowledge, thus making a contrbution to the broad debate on the topic. The updated version refers to aspects currently under discussion, such as thresholds or low-dose effects.

VCI's overview on “endocrine active substances” (115 pages, in English) examines the current state of scientific knowledge through discussion of the following issues:

  • definition of “endocrine active substances” and “endocrine disruptors”,
  • basis of the evaluation,
  • background to the substances under discussion and to the question of which hormone systems are under discussion in association with endocrine activity as well as the possible accumulation of endocrine active substances in organisms,
  • examples of the potencies of estrogenic substances are described.

In separate sections, the human and environmental aspects are examined in more detail, e.g. the possible hazard to humans or the environment is assessed. In this process, test methods, test strategies, and evaluation concepts are explained.

More general matters, such as what is known about combination effects and the question of adverse effects in the low-dose range are also discussed, as is the subject of the validity and quality of scientific studies.

In the last section, regulatory aspects are discussed, e.g. the question of the need for a separate hazard category and prioritization and evaluation studies for candidate substances.

The overview is intended to make a relevant contribution to the scientific and objective discussion of endocrine active substances. To this end, the document is regularly updated to reflect the current state of the discussion. In June 2013, the VCI project group "Endocrine Effects" performed a focused update of the paper, concentrating on currently discussed topics such as thresholds and low-dose effects.

The full table of contents as well as a short introduction can be found in the download section at the top of this page as so-called "Langfassung".

The full scientific overview (115 pages) is available at the same place under "Ergänzende Downloads".

For questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.


Dr. Claudia Drucker