News 2015 / June

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PRESS RELEASE: ChemSec calls for action on hormone disruptors under REACH

Today the EU Commission presents the on-going work to develop criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals, EDCs. The criteria can be expected at earliest in end 2016.

Swedish NGO ChemSec, alongside top EDC scientists, says the scientific basis and the legal framework to act on these hazardous chemicals already exist.

Through the SIN List ChemSec has identified EDCs relevant for REACH. These are presented in a new report released today “The 32 to leave behind”. The identification has been done after thorough scientific reviews and to date this is therefore the most well founded list of EDCs.

– We urge all member states and the Commission to not be paralysed by the time-consuming criteria process, but to use the available evidence and place these problematic substances on the REACH Candidate List, says Dr. Anna Lennquist, ChemSec toxicologist.

EDCs are subject to different EU chemicals regulations, but the process to establish criteria for their identification has been delayed for years beyond the legal deadline. Several countries, the EU council of ministers and the EU Parliament have therefore filed a lawsuit against the EU Commission. While the criteria are first to be established for the pesticides and biocides regulation, they will most certainly influence the implementation of other EU regulations, including REACH.

– While the political process is much delayed within EU and the awareness raising on an intergovernmental level, the scientific grounds for regulation of EDCs are obvious from a number of important reports, including the State of the science of endocrine disruptors – 2012, from UNEP/WHO, for which 25 world leading scientists contributed. More recent data on the EDC topic are supporting the concern expressed in this and several other reports. The scientific basis is established for immediate action on EDCs, says Professor Åke Bergman, Executive director of the academic centre, Swetox.

A small number of chemicals have already been officially identified as EDCs under REACH. This shows that EDCs can be identified on a case-by-case basis also in the absence of criteria. However this process has been slow and seems to have been haltered alongside the criteria development.

– We know that responsible companies are frustrated by the delays of the process and believe that the SIN List can therefore be helpful in identifying the EDCs most relevant for substitution, Dr Lennquist continues.

Professor Carl-Gustaf Bornehag from Karlstad University, who holds a long experience studying the links between EDCs and effects on human health, agrees about the urgency to address EDCs.

­– I am very concerned about several recent findings regarding chemicals with potential or proven EDC properties. For example, prenatal exposure to phthalates can be linked to incomplete masculinization in baby boys and prenatal exposure to perfluorinated compounds is related to lower birth weights. To me it is obvious that we must protect the next generations from chemicals causing these types of effects.

The 32 to leave behind – the most well-founded list of EDCs relevant for REACH