EDC-2020 – a project concerning substances that disrupt endocrine function


EDC-2020 is a five-year research program on endocrine disrupting chemicals financed by approx. one million euro a year by the Swedish Research Council Formas on behalf of the Swedish Government. The core of the project is five research areas and a training program. Eleven national universities are joint together in the efforts of EDC-2020.

EDC-2020 aims to:

  • create an enabling environment for strong research on EDCs and for scientific advances and innovations, which will benefit the field of toxicology-related sciences as a whole.
  • establish an overarching national program for research on EDCs, optimizing cooperation between national universities as well as with the Swetox facilities in Södertälje, and improve interdisciplinary research.
  • establish an international EDC collaboration platform including world-leading experts and to link students in toxicological sciences across the country.


Five united research areas

To meet the program objectives, research has been built around five priority areas, which align to increase the knowledge of mechanisms and models and provides the basis for risk assessment of endocrine disrupters. A number of researchers have been recruited to the EDC-2020 in each of the following areas. Research is conducted in close collaboration with researchers from the various universities.

  1. Bioanalysis. The air we breathe is toxic! We usually think of air pollution as being outdoors, but our indoor environment might be a lot more toxic than our outdoor environment. As we spend most of our lives indoors it is crucial to measure indoor pollutants. We measure environmental contaminants in indoor air and household dust by using mass spectrometry. Read about Dr. Annette Krais’ research.
  2. Mechanisms and models. Exposure to endocrine disrupters early in life can lead to permanent structural changes and adverse health effects manifested later in life. An increased understanding of toxicological mechanisms and how they can be reproduced in different experimental models are necessary to better evaluate the risks of endocrine disruptors. Read about Dr. Pauliina Damdimopoulou’s and Dr. Joëlle Rüegg’s research.
  3. Toxicokinetics. Several well-known environmental chemicals and endocrine disruptors are not primarily active in their original form but as metabolites or by interfering with the degradation of endogenous hormones. Read about Dr Emma Vincent’s research.
  4. Inhalation. Many endocrine disruptors can bind to solid surfaces such as dust and particles. Inhalation of indoor dust may in some cases constitute a significant route of exposure, especially for small children. At Swetox Södertälje we have a unique opportunity to study the inhalation effects of chemicals in vitro and in vivo. Researcher: Per Gerde and Åsa Gustafsson (FOI)
  5. Science-to-Policy. To get a science-based policy development we need a closer connection between researchers and policy makers in government and business. Within EDC-2020, we aim to deliver research results that will lead to safer use of chemicals for present and future generations. Read about Dr. Mattias Öberg’s research.


Training of future scientists and decision-makers

The knowledge and contact networks established early in a researcher’s career is often crucial for a successful working life, regardless of whether he or she will be working in academia, government or private sector.

Swetox Academy brings together students and graduate students from all over Sweden. Coordinator of Swetox Academy is Professor Annika Hanberg and Dr. Charlotte Nilsson. In addition EDC-2020 will arrange series of courses, seminars and workshops on endocrine disruptors for a broad range of stakeholders.