Every year on April 22th, people around the world celebrate Earth Day to raise awareness on the impact our actions have on the environment and earth as a whole. This year, EDC-Free Europe invites you to learn more about the impacts endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have on our ecosystems and wildlife – and what our campaign partners are doing about it to prevent this from happening.

The EDC-Free Europe coalition brings together public interest groups representing more than 70 environmental, health, women’s and consumer groups across Europe who share a concern about hormone disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and their impact on our health and wildlife.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, also known as hormone disruptors, are chemicals that interfere with the natural hormones in our bodies. And they also have an impact on nature and wildlife, where EDCs have been found to be present in the air, surface water, the soil or in the food chain.

Sources of exposure to EDCs in nature can be both direct with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, but also indirect via chemicals developed for industrial or domestic applications or used in consumer products that end up in the environment through inappropriate waste management. Some suspected endocrine disrupting pesticides have even been found in tree barks.

Examples of ways in which exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals can impact wildlife include:

  • The impaired reproduction and immune system in seals,
  • Reproductive and developmental abnormalities in alligators,
  • Bird egg-shell thinning resulting in reduced number of offspring,
  • Masculinisation of female freshwater and marine snails,
  • Feminization of male fish that produce a female egg yolk protein,
  • Skeletal deformities in frogs and fish.

Some wildlife species like birds could even be considered as “wildlife sentinels” for EDCs, as their populations react to environmental contaminants before humans do.

Over the years, EDC-Free Europe coalition partners have taken many initiatives to alert decision-makers about the impact of EDCs on people, wildlife and the environment. Check out just some examples of how we are taking action to protect the environment and wildlife against endocrine disruptors: