Webinar | EDCs in healthcare

HCWH Europe held a webinar on endocrine disruptors in the healthcare sector in September 2014. The discussion was moderated by Laurel Berzanskis, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Policy Officer for HCWH Europe. Speakers included Dr Gavin ten Tusscher (Westfriesgasthuis, the Netherlands) and Dr R. Thomas Zoeller (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA). Find out more about our speakers.


About the speakers

Dr Gavin ten Tusscher, Ph.D., How you can avoid or reduce exposure to EDCs in the healthcare system

Dr ten Tusscher is a paediatrician in the Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology at the Westfriesgasthuis, Hoorn, Netherlands, with specific interest in paediatric pulmonology, allergies and toxicology. He studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam, where he also trained as paediatrician and achieved his Ph.D. thesis.  

Dr ten Tusscher was a member of the EU Technical Working Group on Bio-Monitoring of Children, was Chairman of Health Care Without Harm, Europe for 5 years and is currently Chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee North Holland. Together with Professor Janna Koppe, he leads one of the longest running, on-going paediatric environmental health studies in the world. This Dutch study has been following children for over 20 years since the 1980′s. He has more than 50 publications to his name.

Dr R. Thomas Zoeller, Ph.D., What are EDCs and how does exposure to EDCs affect human health?

Dr Zoeller is Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His current research focuses on the role of thyroid hormone in brain development with an emphasis on the fetal brain. These studies have revealed that the fetal (rodent) brain is very sensitive to changes in thyroid hormone action, and that this action is highly complex. 

Dr Zoeller’s lab also works on the mechanisms by which environmental endocrine disruptors can interfere with thyroid hormone action in the developing brain. This work has demonstrated that some chemicals – including PCBs, PBDEs, and BPA, produce effects on thyroid hormone action that are not fully consistent with a reduction in serum thyroid hormone levels. The mechanism(s) by which these chemicals can produce a “mosaic” effect on hormone action is important to address. 

Dr Zoeller’s laboratory has published over 120 peer reviewed papers on these topics. He was a member of the U.S. EPA's EDSTAC working group on Screening and Testing in the 1990’s as well as several other EPA review panels including for perchlorate, PFOA, and the tier 1 of the EDSP. In recognition of his work, Dr Zoeller received the “Scientist of the Year – 2002” from the Learning Disabilities Association and was a Samuel F. Conte Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for his work. 

He has served on numerous advisory committees including the EPA’s chartered Science Advisory Board, the Exposure and Human Health Committee (of the SAB), and the Integrative and Clinical Endocrinology and Reproduction Study Section of the NIH. He is currently an associate editor of the journalEndocrine Disruption, and is on the editorial board of Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. He has written extensively on issues of Endocrine Disruption and Public Policy. 

The PowerPoint presentation shown during the webinar is also available for download.

Useful Resources

Endocrine Disruptors in the Healthcare Sector

This leaflet is designed for healthcare professionals concerned about EDCs. It is currently available in EnglishFrenchItalian and Spanish. German and Hungarian versions will be available soon.

Safer Medical Device Database (www.safermedicaldevices.org)

HCWH Europe has created a free, online database to help medical professionals and procurers phase out EDCs from the healthcare sector. This provides information on phthalate and PVC-free alternatives for use in medical devices. We are now expanding the database to include BPA-free products.

EDC-Free Europe Campaign (www.edc-free-europe.org)

HCWH Europe is a campaign partner on the EDC-Free Europe campaign. Visit the site to find out more about our everyday exposure to EDCs.

Get Involved

Join the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network

GGHH is a worldwide community of hospitals, health systems and health organisations committed to reducing the environmental footprint of the health sector. Membership is free and comes with many benefits, such as access to GGHH Connect; a new online platform exclusively for members. To learn more, visit www.greenhospitals.net