The European Commission has presented criteria for endocrine disrupters

2016-06-16

The European Commission has today presented a proposal of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disrupting chemical substances. The Swedish Chemicals Agency noted after an initial analysis that it was likely that the criteria would be difficult to use in order to increase the protection of health and environment.

– It is encouragingly positive that the European Commission has presented the criteria for endocrine disruptors. However, the proposed criteria are designed in such a way that our ability to prevent harm to health and the environment will be limited, says The Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Director General Nina Cromnier.

Endocrine disruptors can cause cancer, affect metabolism and affect people’s ability to have children. Fetuses and small children are particularly vulnerable to influence. If a fetus is exposed to an endocrine disruptor it may have negative effects on brain development or increase the risk of suffering from diseases as an adult. A problem with displaying the need to regulate endocrine disruptors is that it can take a long time to detect possible adverse health effects on someone that has been exposed to these substances.

– The European Commissions proposed criteria have set high standards of evidence to establish that the substances have endocrine-disrupting effects. The proposal means that there is a risk that limitations may only be imposed when the harm to health and the environment has already occurred, says Nina Cromnier.

EU Commission decision concerning criteria for endocrine disrupters should have been taken by December 2013, but has been delayed. Sweden sued the European Commission for failure to act on the issue in 2014. In December last year, Sweden’s claim was substantiated and they received a positive ruling by the European Court of Justice Tribunal. The European Commission’s proposed criteria will now be discussed in the European Parliament, the European Council and in the EU’s committees.

People come into contact with endocrine disruptors in everyday life through, for example, food packaging, cosmetics and clothing. We also ingest endocrine disruptors from pesticide residues in food and drinking water.

The European Commission’s press release about the criteria