Sometimes words sound scary precisely because they are. If you choose to investigate beyond the first hostile impact with an abstruse, hardly pronounceable term, you might find that its meaning is even worse.
This week’s IATE term, “endocrine disruptor”, deserves a special mention in this category. Not only the expression does not sound nice at all, but it is also related to a dreadful phenomenon that is affecting all of us on a daily basis.
Endocrine disruptors are substances that interfere with our endocrine (hormone) system, altering some of its functions and, therefore, producing adverse health effects on one’s organism or progeny.
Such chemicals can be found in products we frequently use or are exposed to, like herbicides, plastic, and even print receipts, and they can cause forms of cancer, infertility, birth defects, and other serious issues related to any system in the body controlled by hormones.
This unpleasant term has been chosen as term of the week because during last week’s plenary session MEPs announced a motion of censure on the European Commission, since it failed to comply with its legal obligation to publish scientific criteria for defining endocrine disruptors as a first step towards reducing exposure to them – as decided in a March 2013 resolution. Since then, MEPs have repeatedly urged the Commission to clamp down on the substances.
For more information, we recommend ECHA-term, a multilingual and very complete chemical terminology database. The termbase, developed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU (CdT), provides the main chemicals terms in 23 EU languages, including pictograms, hazard and precautionary statements.
Also, the European Food Safety Authority provide a simple yet very complete explanation of how endocrine active substances interfere with normal hormonal action. You can read it here.
- European Parliament. European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2013 on the protection of public health from endocrine disrupters. Available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2013-0091+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN [Accessed 20 May 16]
- Endocrine Society. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the European Union. Available at: https://www.endocrine.org/~/media/endosociety/files/advocacy-and-outreach/position-statements/2015/position_statement_edc_eu.pdf?la=en [Accessed 20 May 16]
- Patricia Nance et al. Endocrine Disruption: A New Strategy? Available at: http://www.science20.com/risky_business/endocrine_disruption_a_new_strategy-172707 [Accessed 20 May 16]
- Wikipedia. Endocrine Disruptor. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocrine_disruptor [Accessed 20 May 16]
Written by Silvia Morani
Communication Trainee at TermCoord