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HEALTH : ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS: EU FAILS TO MEET ITS DEADLINE.

The EU is not ready to establish a regulatory framework for endocrine disruptors. Following reservations voiced by industry experts and the scientific community, the European Commission has therefore decided to postpone the adoption of a scientific definition for these substances, which can alter hormonal regulation in the body. Instead, the Commission will launch a public consultation (in January) as well as an impact assessment (during the first half of this year) on the issue of identifying and assessing endocrine disruptors.

The adoption of an operational definition for endocrine disruptors had originally been planned for the end of 2013 by Regulations 528/2012 on biocidal products and 1107/2009 on athe placing of plant protection products on the market .

Asked about the change of plan, the spokesperson for Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik recalled several issues raised by the industry and the scientific community, and specifically by the Commission's Chief Scientific Advisor Anne Glover and the signatories of the 'Berlaymont declaration'. According to the spokesperson, contrary to the original plans, the future College of Commissioners will establish the criteria for identifying and evaluating endocrine disruptors by autumn this year. The regulatory framework will be drafted based on these criteria at a later date.

MEP Michele Rivasi (Greens-EFA, France) believes that this delay marks a step in the wrong direction. "This clearly means that all the clear regulations protecting consumers have been abandoned because the criteria that should solely be scientific will be interfered with by purely economic issues." "Worse still" she adds, "contrary to what the European Parliament requested in the Westlund report, such criteria run the risk of being different for each regulatory field (cosmetics, pesticides, toys)". The French MEP also fears that this postponement will challenge EU regulations on the framework for chemical substances (REACH) when negotiating the EU-US trade agreement. "The EU is in danger of no longer having any criteria to negotiate with the United States: this leaves the door open for a risk-based approach rather than a danger-based one which we are asking for".

'Berlaymont declaration'

The 'Berlaymont declaration' is an unprecedented initiative, which was presented by the Commission in May 2013 to condemn the deleterious effects of endocrine disruptors. The document, co-signed by around a hundred top international researchers, urges the EU to take into account scientific results that show the dangers that hundreds of chemical substances (solvents, electrical insulators, bisphenols, brominated fire retardants, pesticides) pose to the hormonal system.

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Publication:Europe Environment
Date:Jan 24, 2014
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