In an article published on March 21, 2016 by the UK-based advocacy group for chemical safety CHEM Trust, Michael Warhurst provides an overview of past events and future proceedings regarding the decision on criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the EU. First off, Warhurst explains that the European Commission (EC) had a clear deadline to define criteria to identify EDCs as specified in the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR, (EU) No 528/2012) and the Plant Protection Product Regulation (PPPR, (EC) No 1107/2009), and failed to do so by the official deadline in December 2013 (FPF reported). In December 2015, the EU General Court ruled that the EC has breached EU law by failing to define EDC criteria within this deadline (FPF reported). Warhurst highlights that the EC had received scientific advice on how to define science-based criteria for EDCs from both the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and that draft criteria were put forward in June 2013. However, “a major industry-led lobbying campaign led to a halt in the process,” Warhurst writes. Upon the EU General Court ruling and pressure from non-governmental organizations and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the EC announced that it will present EDC criteria by summer 2016 (FPF reported).

CHEM Trust proposes, in line with the expert advice from EFSA and JRC, that identification of an EDC should consider three factors: 1) An endocrine mode of action, 2) an adverse effect, and 3) a plausible link between the two. In addition, CHEM Trust suggests establishing a three category approach, similar to that used in categorization of carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxins. In this manner, “a category 3 EDC could be identified based on in vitro test methods alone, creating an impetus for further testing to find out whether a chemical is a problem.” Potency should not be included in EDC criteria because it usually does not capture all the different pathways and endpoints a single EDC can disrupt or affect. Finally, CHEM Trust stresses that regarding economic impacts of EDC criteria, there already are measures in place under current legislation that allow continued use of particularly important chemicals in certain circumstances.

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Michael Warhurst (March 21, 2016). “After a long wait, now is the time for the EU to decide on criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals.CHEM Trust

CHEM Trust (2016). “Should a potency cut-off be included in the criteria for identification of EDCs?