In a press release published on October 4, 2017, the European Parliament (EP) informed that the proposal by the EU Commission (EC) for the criteria for the identification of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) for pesticides was rejected in a plenary vote taking place on the same day.
The objection to the EC’s proposal, already adopted by the EP’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) last week (FPF reported), stated that the EC “exceeded its mandate” by proposing that the substances specifically designed to have an endocrine mode of action would be exempt from the assessment according to EDC criteria even if they harm the non-target organisms of the same phylogenetic origin. The full EP’s vote now also approved this objection by 389 to 235 votes, with 70 abstentions, thus producing “the absolute majority needed to block the proposal.” This means that the EC will now have to draft a new version of the text incorporating the EP’s input.
In the EC’s press release, Commissioner Andriukaitis said that he “regrets today’s vote” and that he “strongly believes that in this case no deal is a bad deal for EU citizens,” as the proposed criteria “would have ensured better protection of human health and the environment as well as served as a stepping stone to a wider strategy on endocrine disruptors.” The EC “will now need to reflect on next steps to take.”
Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have repeatedly criticized the EC’s EDC criteria proposal (FPF reported) have now expressed great support for the results of the EP’s vote.
Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL) applauded “the courageous decision to veto a proposal that lacks ambition and would fail to protect human health and the environment.”
Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) congratulated the EP for “recognizing that the new derogation was illegal,” but further stressed that even without this exemption, “the criteria already require such ‘a high burden of proof’ to identify a substance as an endocrine disruptor, that it remains unclear how many pesticides will be regulated, if at all.”
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) expressed the hope that in the new proposal the EC will “present legally sound scientific criteria to identify EDCs,” and further noted that it is also an opportunity to present “criteria applicable across sectors of EU law, such as cosmetics, toys, and food contact materials as mandated in the 7th Environment Action Program.”
The Endocrine Society (ES), the world’s largest organization of endocrinologists, said that it is “eager to collaborate with EU lawmakers on science-based regulations,” and re-emphasized that “EDCs contribute to serious health problems,” therefore “scientific criteria to effectively identify and regulate EDCs are critical to ensure the health and wellbeing of the public for this and future generations.” The ES further stated that “the rejected criteria failed to support the latest scientific evidence” and that the new criteria to be developed should “maximize the ability to identify chemicals that pose a threat to human health.”
EP (October 4, 2017). “Identifying endocrine disruptors: Parliament blocks plans exempting some pesticides.”
EC (October 4, 2017). “Statement following the European Parliament’s vote regarding the Commission’s proposal for the identification of criteria defining endocrine disruptors in the area of plant protection products (PPPs).”
Endocrine Society (October 4, 2017). “EU vote to reject flawed EDC criteria creates opportunity to protect public health.”
PAN Europe (October 4, 2017). “Commission’s endocrine criteria proposal beyond legal mandate, EU Parliament decided.”
Vanessa Zainzinger (October 4, 2017). “European Parliament rejects EDC criteria.” Chemical Watch
Michail Niamh (October 4, 2017). “MEPs block Commission from widening endocrine disruptor definition.” Food Navigator
Business Standard (October 4, 2017). “Setback for EU deal on hormone-disrupting chemicals.”
Anna Lennquist (October 5, 2017). “Analysis: The parliament’s rejection of the EDC criteria proposal is a victory for democracy.” ChemSec
European Parliament (October 12, 2017). “Endocrine disruptors: people’s health must come first.“