News 2015 / May

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Reports reveal how industry lobby managed to block progress on regulating EDCs

On May 20 the journalist Stephane Horel, together with the research campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), released a report describing how the work to define criteria for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) has been shuffled around within the EU Commission as a response to heavy industry lobbying. Another report released by the group Pesticide Action Network, PAN, includes a timeline of the events around the EDC criteria.

Both reports describe conflicts inside the Commission, showing how DG Environment was being increasingly isolated by the other Directorates-General, in particular DG SANTE (former SANCO), who now have the responsibility for the criteria development. DG SANTE is currently performing an impact assessment of the different criteria options, which they are to present at a workshop 1st of June. According to these reports this impact assessment was a main demand from the active industry groups.

The industry Groups CEFIC and Ecpa, pointed out as the main players in blocking the process, attempted to add further confusion last week at a press meeting about the scientific consensus which was reached under former chief scientist Anne Glover.

Even if the criteria process at this stage is targeting only the pesticides and biocides regulation, the results will certainly have an impact on other EU regulation, including REACH.
– We hope that these delays will not hinder other regulatory activities on EDCs, such as inclusion of EDCs into the REACH candidate list. Even without criteria it is possible to identify EDCs on a case-by-case basis, says Dr. Anna Lennquist, ChemSec toxicologist.
– This is what we have done for the SIN List, where EDCs have been included only after thorough scientific assessments. We encourage member states to use the data we have for these substances. The evidence of EDCs as being partly responsible for many of our most common health concerns is mounting. We simply cannot afford not to act on them now, Dr. Lennquist concludes.

A toxic affair: How the chemical lobby blocked action on hormone disrupting chemicals

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