The most worrying aspect of the editorial by Dietrich et al.  is the blurring of the border between what constitutes science and what belongs to the realm of political, societal and democratic choices.
The Precautionary Principle is enshrined in European Law in the EC Treaty as well as in International Law . This principle was elaborated at the 1992 Rio Conference on the Environment and Development, during which the Rio Declaration was adopted. Principle 15 states that: “in order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capability. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation” . Defined in this way, the precautionary principle is a legal concept for addressing scientific uncertainty, and not a scientific concept. Its interpretation and application is a matter for politicians and lawyers. The state of the science on endocrine disruption has been reviewed and summarised in several recent reports published by the UNEP/WHO or commissioned by the European Commission [1, 2, 8, 15]. Already over 10 years ago, it was concluded that the state of the science justified regulatory action . Decisions as to what kind of action may be justified by the level of available evidence and proportionate to the potential risks is a matter for politicians and risk managers, and not the exclusive domain of scientists. Yet Dietrich et al.  express strong reservations regarding the application of EU law but do not engage with the scientific basis for concern, or with widely published scientific evidence.
In contrast, the JRC report  made a clear distinction between hazard identification and characterisation on the one hand, which they considered within the remit of their expertise, and risk management on the other.
Scientific truths about endocrine disruption as a phenomenon resulting from disturbances of the programming effects of the endocrine system during development seem to have been ignored by Dietrich et al. . It is to be hoped that this editorship of international toxicological journals will be able to engage in a better founded scientific debate which may help to overcome a polarisation of views detrimental to reaching a consensus about scientific foundations for endocrine disrupter regulation in the EU.