Instituto Hospital del Mar de Investigaciones Médicas (IMIM) y Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Science can contribute to assess the biological, clinical, epidemiological, environmental, and other issues posed by environmental chemical contaminants such as endocrine disrupting chemicals. There is a considerable gap between research and practice in environmental health, public health, and clinical medicine. Organizations often fail to appreciate the human and economic costs of the diseases that environmental chemical contaminants contribute to cause. Numerous scientists have shown the virtues of integrative research. While knowledge on the causes of diseases is necessary for primary prevention, it is often secondary in clinical practice; yet, in other instances, to help patients, clinicians do tackle causes of diseases. We can better address how environmental contaminants influence negatively not just the occurrence of disease, but its course. To do so, we can generate better evidence, and strengthen the social conversation on environmental influences on all dimensions of health and disease. We can learn from prior experiences of preventable human suffering and economic losses caused by delayed regulation of legacy contaminants and emerging pollutants. Heightened awareness of environmental health problems is necessary among health professionals, the media, and citizens’ organizations. Improved translation from research to the clinical world and to policy is important to reduce the population burden of diseases caused by exposure to endocrine disruptors and other environmental chemicals. Numerous actions can be inspired by science-to-policy processes built for “old pollutants” (as persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals), as well as from current trends regarding the regulation of non-persistent chemicals, such as the prototypical endocrine disruptor bisphenol A. Citizens and societies need regulatory changes and policies more sensitive to the current needs of humans, the climate, and nature.