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EDCs and Future Generations: Time for the EU to Take Action

MEP Nicola Caputo recently hosted an event with HEAL member Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN-E) on EDCs and the need for immediate regulatory action.

The event aimed to bring the science back to the European Parliament and provide an opportunity for MEPs and participants to ask questions directly to scientific experts about EDCs and help accelerate the process of their correct regulation in the EU.

Academics and researchers in the field of Endocrine Disruption presented the state of the science, covering male reproductive health (genital defects and poor sperm quality), breast cancer, and IQ loss, amongst other health problems. One member state civil servant, from the Swedish Chemical Agency (KEMI) also presented the research to date on the health costs arising from EDCs, including the HEAL report from June 2014. All scientists clearly criticised the EU Commission for the delay in accepting the scientific evidence and regulating these chemicals to protect human health, particularly the most vulnerable groups in society – pregnant women and babies.

The EU Commission Directorate General leading on EDCs, DG Environment and DG Sante, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) explained the current regulatory procedures on EDCs (criteria to identify EDCs and the impact assessment on the criteria and regulatory options). A major overlooked gap, noted Professor Kortenkamp – the leading scientist who produced a state-of-the-science report on EDCs for DG Environment, and assist in the correct selection of criteria to identify EDCs, is that the OECD-validated guideline tests needed to detect EDCs (as defined by the World Health Organisation) are not required in EU or US laws, and that many tests also overlook the critical period of biological vulnerability to endocrine disruption during fetal development.

Given the scarcity of data on EDCs due to these gaps, the dilemma is how the EU Commission can properly assess the impacts of certain chemicals being identified as EDCs, which would lead to their non-authorisation as pesticide or biocide substances.

Considering that exposure to EDCs is an issue of concern that has been brought to light due to the recent advances in technology and research, Pesticide Action Network Europe highlights that a collaborative action of all sectors is needed to protect our future generations. The event covered EDCs used in all sectors such as in biocides, household articles, chemicals and cosmetic industries.

More information available here

Originally posted on 13 July 2015

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