Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are environmental chemicals that affect the function of the endocrine system—chemicals found in certain drugs, pesticides, and compounds used in the plastics industry. Commonweal has been concerned about, and working to bring awareness about, the adverse environmental and health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals for decades. Founded in 2016 by Jerrold J. (Jerry) Heindel, Phd, Commonweal’s Program in Endocrine Disruption Strategies (PEDS) aims to foster the development, integration, and coordination of activities (scientific, educational, outreach, and policy) related to understanding these chemicals and their effects.
PEDS works with scientists, organizations, advocacy groups, scientific societies, and local EDC working groups to educate and provide current and timely resources on the role of EDCs in disease and dysfunctions. Scientifically, PEDS is interested in all aspects of endocrine disruptors and endocrine disruption across the lifespan, focusing on in vitro systems, animal models, and human studies. PEDS focuses on the importance of endocrine disruptors in programming of tissue function, across all windows of susceptibility, leading to increased susceptibility of disease across the lifespan and generations. A major emphasis is on understanding the role of endocrine disruptor exposures in metabolic diseases (obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome). PEDS works with scientists to help define and fill research gaps to improve the impact of EDC research.
PEDS works, along with other constituencies, to educate scientists, local, national, and international governments, scientific societies, local community groups, and local communities about the hazards of exposures to endocrine disruptors and how to reduce exposures and thereby improve health.
On the policy front, PEDS supports the science that connects our reliance on fossil fuel chemistry with endocrine disruptors, supports regulations to protect human health from exposure to endocrine disruptors, supports improved testing for endocrine disruptor activity, and supports regulations and actions at national and local levels to reduce exposures to EDCs and their impact on human health.