News 2016 / June

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Environmental ministers ask Commission for more protective EDC criteria

The environmental ministers Ségolène Royal (France), Esben Lunde Larsen (Denmark) and Karolina Skog (Sweden) have sent a joint letter to Commissioners Andriukaitis and Junker, asking for amendments of the draft EDC criteria presented on June 15.
According to the ministers, the suggested criteria fail to ensure a satisfactory level of protection of human health and the environment.

“The Union must be coherent: if the proposed criteria were applied, bisphenol A would not be recognized as an endocrine disruptor”, the letter says.

The proposed criteria have been subject to heavy criticism by the EU Parliament as well as by NGOs. The main points of concern are:

  • Commission overstepping its mandate by suggesting changes of wordings which in practice change the identification from hazard-based to risk-based.
  • The high burden of proof required for identification of EDCs is inconsistent with how other types of chemicals are identified and does not allow for the precautionary principle to be used. Thus the criteria will not be able to protect human health and the environment.

“It is very odd that the Commission proposes a different option than one of the four that have been evaluated in several steps. Commission claim that they are using the consensus definition by WHO/IPCS, while in fact they have tweaked it to loose its essence”, says Dr Anna Lennquist, ChemSec senior toxicologist.

Parts of industry have instead criticised the Commission for not including potency as part of the criteria. This option was abandoned since a scientific consensus statement advised against it.

On June 30 the Commission is hosting a stakeholder meeting in Brussels on the issue and a public consultation is also expected to take place during summer.

“We do hope that the Commission takes the messages from member states and Parliament seriously and revise the criteria in an acceptable way together with Member States and Parliament”, Dr Lennquist conclude.

Two draft criteria measures have been presented, one for the biocidal products regulation and one for the plant protection products regulation.