A report published on May 20, 2015 by the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and investigative journalist Stéphane Horel explains how European Commission work on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been delayed and obstructed by industry stakeholders with special interests. The report “A toxic affair. How the chemical lobby blocked action on hormone disrupting chemicals” chronicles events leading up to the Commission’s decision to launch an Impact Assessment on EDCs in July 2013. The work on this Impact Assessment de facto delays establishing of the Commission’s EDC criteria by 4 years; the criteria on EDCs will specify how toxicological tests on EDCs will be used to regulate chemicals with hormone disrupting properties. The criteria were due by the end of 2013. Sweden has filed a law suit against the Commission for delaying publication of the criteria (FPF reported); this legal action has been backed by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe (FPF reported).

The report also explains how different Directorates General (DGs) of the European Commission failed to work together cooperatively. In October 2012 DG Health & Consumer (SANCO) tasked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) with developing a Scientific Opinion on EDCs, even though DG Environment had already commissioned such a report (FPF reported). Eight of the 18 expert members in EFSA’s EDC group had conflicts of interest, and only 4 scientists on the committee had scientific research experience from working with EDCs in. Notably, shortly before the EFSA Scientific Opinion on EDCs had been published, an unnamed member of the EFSA working group shared his concerns about the scientifically insufficient EFSA Scientific Opinion with his colleagues, as an email obtained by CEO and Stéphane Horel reveals.

The report also reiterates that the scientific debate is less polarized than is often made out to be, citing a consensus statement signed by various scientists from allegedly divergent scientific “camps” at a meeting with former Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof. Anne Glover in October 2013 (FPF reported).

Journalist S. Horel has previously shed light on the European EDC debate with her documentary “Endocrination” that appeared in August 2014 (FPF reported).

Read more

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Stéphane Horel (May 19, 2015). “A toxic affair. How the chemical lobby blocked action on hormone disrupting chemicals.”

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe (May 20, 2015). “EU health policy on endocrine disruption collatoral damage in Commission health service SANTE’s power play.

International Chemical Secretariat (May 27, 2015). “Why is it taking so long to regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals.