On September 20, 2016, the news provider Chemical Watch published a commentary article by Denmark’s Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen on the European Commission (EC’s) criteria for identification of endocrine disruption chemicals (EDCs). Larsen looks back on 25 years of research on EDCs (FPF reported) and calls for the establishment of appropriate regulatory measures to protect human health and the environment now. He acknowledges the efforts made by the EU member states, the EC, and other stakeholders to develop the right criteria for the identification of EDCs. However, the criteria which were published on June 15, 2016 (FPF reported) after more than five years of work are disappointing, Larsen states.
According to the article, the current proposal firstly requires an unprecedented and scientifically unjustified level of evidence for the identification of EDCs. This becomes especially obvious when compared to the lower requirements for the identification of carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) chemicals. Secondly, the proposal is inconsistent with corresponding legislation, because it is “not in line with the globally accepted approach for identification of substances of high concern, nor with the WHO definition of an endocrine disruptor”. Thirdly, it does not consider the precautionary principle by limiting the identification of endocrine disrupters to those that are known to cause adverse effects, Larsen explains.
The current approach would not allow the identification of some well-known endocrine disruptors, but would lead to legal uncertainties, hinder the substitution of problematic chemicals, and delay regulation, Larsen summarizes. A division into two categories of EDCs, focusing on confirmed EDCs and suspected EDCs which are supported by substantial evidence, is proposed as efficient and consistent approach that could apply to all relevant EU legislation. Policy makers have to take the state of the science and citizens’ concerns into account to avoid a new chapter to the “late lessons, early warnings”, Larsen concludes.
Another article on EDC criteria, testing and assessment was also published by Chemical Watch on September 20, 2016. It provides further background information on how the EDC criteria were defined, and summarizes current worldwide regulatory developments regarding EDCs as well as the possible implications for global trade.
Esben Lunde Larsen (September 20, 2016). “Denmark’s environment minister: why the Commission’s EDCs criteria falls short.” Chemical Watch
Martina Duft (September 20, 2016). “Endocrine disruptors: criteria, testing and assessment.” Chemical Watch