In an article published on November 19, 2020, the non-governmental organization Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) published the results of a survey investigating Belgian citizens’ awareness of EDCs. The survey was carried out on 1,000 Belgian citizens by the Belgian Independent Health Insurance Funds and found that “nearly half of Belgian citizens have little knowledge of what endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are and how they can impact our health, despite having daily habits like heating up food in plastic containers that could increase their exposure” to these chemicals. Among the reported results, it found that 48% of the consumers have never heard of EDCs, 73% assume that only products that do not contain dangerous substances are allowed on the market, 59% believe that ‘banning dangerous substances’ is among the two most important measures they expect from the federal government, and that 61% of them heat up their food in plastic containers.
The announcement of the survey results comes on the same day HEAL hosted a joint event with the insurer on EDCs (FPF reported). The organizations are advocating for greater public awareness about the presence and impacts of EDCs on public health. HEAL writes that “equally important are policies to prevent exposure in the first place and greater use of safer alternatives is a must.” In an article published by news provider Chemical Watch, Belgian authorities are reported to have confirmed the creation of such a national action plan on EDCs. Ongoing discussions surrounding the plan are expected to finish in February 2021, and then implementation would likely require an additional four to five years. The plan is reported to include three main work areas: (i) awareness raising and prevention strategies, (ii) legislative action to reduce exposure to EDCs including possible restrictions, and (iii) research on identifying EDCs including biomonitoring.
The Belgian national action plan as well as the recently announced chemicals strategy by the European Commission (FPF reported) are being perceived by stakeholders as important contributions to addressing growing concerns about EDCs in consumer products, including in food packaging.
HEAL (November 19, 2020). “Survey shows almost 50% of Belgians are unaware of health-harming endocrine disrupting chemicals in daily lives.”
Kathryn Carlson (November 24, 2020). “Belgium to create national EDC strategy ahead of EU-wide controls.” Chemical Watch
Belgium Federal Public Service (June 4, 2020). “Endocrine Disruptors.”