The European Council has voted to join Sweden’s legal case against the European Commission over its delays in proposing criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Also the European Parliament is supporting the case.
The EU pesticides regulation required the European Commission to come up with EDC criteria by the end of 2013. In May last year The Swedish government decided to take the European Commission to court over its failure to meet this obligation.
Twenty-one member states voted in favour of joining Sweden’s case in a vote that ended on 16 January. Four member states, including UK, abstained from voting and three did not respond by the deadline.
On 20 January Members of Parliament (MEPs) sent a letter to health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis urging the European Commission to work towards science-based EDC criteria. In the letter, signing MEPs express strong concerns regarding the decision taken by the Commission to launch an impact assessment to identify EDC criteria.
The letter also criticises the lack of a hazard-based approach in the public consultation recently closed, and says the definition depends on the socio-economic impact on industry, whereas “…such economic considerations are totally irrelevant when it comes to the question of what is an endocrine disrupter.”
Further, it says the public consultation does not follow the roadmap adopted by the Commission in June last year, which states that criteria should be applicable in the wider legislation covering the regulation of EDCs. Instead of looking at EDCs horizontally, it looks specifically at pesticides and biocides.
– We are very glad to see this support from both the Parliament and the Council, it sends a strong message to the Commission to act accordingly on this important issue, says Frida Hök, Policy Advisor at ChemSec. The EDC criteria should not be based on the often exaggerated economic impact presented by the pesticide industry, they should be hazard based criteria based on science, she concludes.