On September 28, 2017, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted to object the draft criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), proposed by the European Commission (EC). The objection to the draft criteria, originally submitted to ENVI by two MEPs, was adopted with 36 against 26 MEP votes.
The ENVI MEPs’ resolution said that the EC “has exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt some substances, such as pesticides deliberately designed to attack a target organism’s endocrine system, from the scope of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disrupters.” The MEPs also emphasized that the EC’s proposal “fails to include a category of ‘suspected’ endocrine disruptors,” effectively precluding any action against such substances. Consequently, the environment MEPs have called on the European Parliament (EP) to veto the EC proposal in a vote planned to take place during an EP plenary session on October 2-5, 2017.
In her article published on September 28, 2017 by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch, editor Vanessa Zainzinger added that the EP’s legal service has confirmed that the EC “has exceeded its mandate,” implying that the proposed change to the pesticides regulation “would have to go through a different legislative process with the approval of both the European Parliament and Council.”
The MEPs that voted against the objection and for the adoption of the draft criteria, said that “it would be irresponsible to delay their adoption any further,” and pointed out that even if imperfect, the EC’s proposal would still “allow the European Union to implement the ‘strictest regulation in the world’ for EDCs.” The EC itself also stated that its proposal “presents ‘the best possible compromise’ after a long and complicated process,” and warned the ENVI that “going back to the drawing board would mean that the interim EDC criteria remain in place for a long time.”
The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) criticized the outcome of the MEPs’ vote. On the contrary, a number of non-government organizations welcomed the vote. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) called on “the rest of the European Parliament to up their game and live up to . . . expectations, by rejecting criteria that are insufficient, not grounded in science, and unlawful.” In an article released on September 28, 2017, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) also noted that the ENVI MEPs’ objections to the EDC criteria “echo the findings of two legal analyses by CIEL and ClientEarth,” published on September 25, 2017. Giulia Carlini, staff attorney at CIEL, said that “as the vote moves to the full Parliament, MEPs should listen to the expert opinions of scientists, lawyers, and now their own colleagues to oppose the illegal criteria.” Further, “a vote against the criteria would send a clear message to the Commission: review the criteria to respect science, uphold the rule of law, and protect our health.” CIEL also explained that if the full EP will vote in favor of the ENVI MEPs’ objections next week, the EC “will have to revise the criteria or accept the continued use of interim criteria.”
European Parliament (September 28, 2017). “Endocrine disrupters in pesticides: Calls to veto Commission proposal.”
Vanessa Zainzinger (September 28, 2017). “European Parliament committee blocks EDC criteria.” Chemical Watch
CIEL (September 25, 2017). “EU Commission’s endocrine disrupting pesticides criteria are unlawful, conclude two legal analyses.”
Samuel White (September 29, 2017). “MEPs vote down endocrine disruptor criteria, back acrylamide regulation.” Euractiv
Euractiv (October 3, 2017). “Endocrine disruptors: A guilty definition.“