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EU Conference on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

EU conference on hormone disrupting chemicals draws nearly 300 participants to discuss next steps on the impact assessment. HEAL highlighted how reducing exposure from these chemicals is our chance in Europe to be the first to really enact primary prevention of cancers, infertility, learning disabilities, and other diseases, and to go a long way to achieving a healthier society.

On 1 June, the EU Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) organised this conference on hormone disrupting chemicals, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), to inform Member States, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), third countries representatives and stakeholders about the on-going impact assessment on criteria to identify these chemicals as part of the implementation of the 2009 pesticides and 2011 biocides laws.

The conference included presentations on the science of identification, the possible impacts on food and pesticides industry, on trade and agriculture, and benefits for consumers, health and the environment. One important presentation from the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) on the methodology for estimating which chemicals would fall under the different identification options highlighted the gaps on inadequate data, and the process for finalising methodology which will include a consultation in the autumn.

Presentation by Sharon Munn, European Commission - Joint Research Center available here - The first phase of the impact assessment on endocrine disruptors: how to screen which chemicals would fall under different options for the criteria to identify endocrine disruptors.

HEAL speaks in final panel on the potential health and environmental impacts – turn the tide on EDC-related chronic diseases and provide significant health savings

Presentation by HEAL’s Executive Director, Genon K. Jensen available here - EDC criteria: EU’s opportunity for better health

’’We could think about EDCs as a potential emerging ‘climate change’ of our toxic chemicals problem. Most recent studies suggest that the health costs from EDCs are 157 billion euros every year for the EU, and that this is probably just the part of the iceberg that is above the water, says Genon K. Jensen.

She adds, Not only do these imply huge costs today, but our current exposure may not appear as a disease like cancer or diabetes until decades later.

The larger analogy that I am making here is that both climate change and EDCs pose enormous threats to our planet and our wellbeing, but if we tackle them well, our efforts can also offer enormous health gains for our society and for our future generations. This is a positive vision. So we’ve got to get the identification of EDCs right; and we’ve got to make sure our laws regulate them and reduce exposures to protect health and the environment, as well as reducing the huge burden of chronic disease.

To conclude, I put to you that tackling EDCs, by properly identifying them, and by regulating them, is the one of the biggest opportunities to improve public health in our time, and it will also help turn the tide on preventing chronic diseases. More importantly, it will help protect our most vulnerable, children, today and tomorrow.’’

Will the EU EDC public consultation really matter?

The EU Commission presented the initial results on the EDC criteria consultation which closed on 16 January 2015. It highlighted that over 93% of the responses came from two NGO networks. The answers, that is 25,000 responses, supported option 3, which says that the EU should use the WHO/IPCS definition with categories, as the best option to get the identification right, and to protect public health. These respondents also supported keeping the democratically agreed laws, which is Option A.

During the conference the EU Commission committed to presenting a more detailed analysis of the responses and how this will be fed into the impact assessment before the summer break.

Presentation by Michael Flüh, European Commission - DG Health and Food Safety - The impact assessment for defining criteria on endocrine disruptors in the context of the plant protection products and biocidal products regulations.

Some highlights from EDC-Free campaign partners and supporters:

- Presentation by Claus Jørgensen, Danish Consumer Council (EDC-Free campaign supporter) - Potential impacts on consumers

- Presentation by Angeliki Lyssimachou, PAN-Europe (EDC-Free campaign partner)- Impacts of Endocrine disrupting pesticides on health and the environment

- Youtube video by Paul Francois, President of HEAL member Phyto victims (received applause from participants as he responded to a statement from European Crop Protection Association on the links between health problems and farmers).

- CHEM Trust (EDC-Free campaign partner) blog by Ninja Reineke - EU Conference on hormone disrupters: What did we learn?

More information

Presentations from June 1 Conference "Endocrine disruptors: criteria for identification and related impacts" - Video live stream available here

EDC Roundtables on impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptor

- 3rd Roundtable: MEPs: Third round table on the impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors (Brussels, 12 May 2015)

- 2nd Roundtable: Member states summary record - Second round table on the impact assessment on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors (24 April 2015)

- 1st Roundtable: Stakeholder summary report - First round table gathering NGOs, scientists, trade associations and industry (25 March 2015)

EDC-Free Europe

- EU EDC criteria public consultation: EDC-Free answers and resources in 7 languages via

- Useful information and resources from civil society on the EDC-Free Europe campaign website (HEAL provides the campaign secretariat)

Upcoming CHE partnership call - Identifying EDCs for Public Health Protection: The Endocrine Perspective, 16 June 2015

Originally posted on 11 June 2015

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