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Endocrine disruptors – Put exposure reduction at the centre of EU action now, urge health groups

Brussels, 17 July 2018 - As the European Commission’s consultation on a roadmap for a framework on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) comes to a close, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) urges the European Commission to ensure that meaningful reduction of citizens’ exposure is at the core of its actions [1].

The proposed framework lacks the ambition that is necessary to address EDCs in a way that truly contributes to health gains and related economic savings. In particular, the alliance bringing together 70 organisations from the health sector warns that the central element of exposure reduction is simply missing, which sends a worrying political signal for future EU action on EDCs.

Natacha Cingotti, HEAL’s senior policy officer for health and chemicals, said: “Reducing citizens’ exposure to endocrine disruptors is the one objective that should be central to any new European strategy on EDCs, and yet it is the biggest missing element of this roadmap. We are concerned that the European Commission is missing the elephant in the room, in particular given its legal obligation to act.

Following the adoption of criteria to identify EDCs under the pesticides and biocides legislation in July 2017 [2] and in response to significant public pressure [3], the European Commission committed to start working on a new strategy to minimise exposure of EU citizens to endocrine disruptors across legislations and sources of exposure as soon as possible. The roadmap under consultation is the first step in the process to update the current EDC strategy, which dates back to 1999.

Under the 2013 seventh Environment Action Programme, the European Commission is legally bound to take action to minimise exposure to EDCs – an objective that was highlighted again by the Council of the European Union in 2016 [4]. Unfortunately, the three objectives of the proposed roadmap fail to reflect those obligations, focusing instead on “addressing the gaps in knowledge”, “linking science and regulation”, and “cooperating on the global scene”.

HEAL’s Natacha Cingotti continues: “The scientific evidence on the links between exposure to endocrine disruptors and serious health conditions keeps growing by the day and we already know enough to take action. Citizens’ legitimate concerns will not be appeased by announcements for more research and public information, unless they are accompanied by concrete measures to start reducing their daily intake of endocrine disruptors now.

HEAL’s full response to the public consultation can be found online.


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Contact: Natacha Cingotti, Senior Policy Officer, Chemicals and Health at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), natacha@env-health.org, tel +32 234 3645

Notes to the editor:

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2018-3295383_en + https://www.env-health.org/IMG/pdf/-42.pdf

[2] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1906_en.htm

[3] http://www.edc-free-europe.org/edc-free-europe-coalition-urges-european-commission-to-protect-people-and-environment-from-hormone-disruptors/ ; http://www.edc-free-europe.org/edc-free-europe-campaigners-react-to-european-member-states-vote-on-revised-edc-proposal/

[4] Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planets’, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013D1386&from=EN ; Environment Council Conclusions, 19 December 2016, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-15673-2016-INIT/en/pdf

Last updated on 3 August 2018

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is the leading not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects human health in the European Union (EU) and beyond. HEAL works to shape laws and policies that promote planetary and human health and protect those most affected by pollution, and raise awareness on the benefits of environmental action for health. Read more »

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HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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