On November 8, 2019, the EU Directorate General for the Environment (DG Environment) organized the first annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors in Brussels, Belgium. The event is described as having “brought together public and private stakeholders and scientists with expertise on endocrine disruptors to exchange information, identify challenges and build synergies in order to inform the [EU] Commission’s reflections” regarding the issue. The program for the forum included presentations from researchers, panel discussions regarding EU member state’s experiences on the issue, and an update regarding the ongoing fitness check of EU legislation with relevance to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) (FPF reported). EU Commission and agency working groups also reported on ongoing activities related to EDCs, and a range of stakeholders including industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academia shared their experiences with related EU legislation. A full recording of the event has been published.

News provider Chemical Watch reported that EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) announced plans to launch a stakeholder survey at the end of this month to support the ongoing fitness check. A wide range of stakeholder input is expected, and the head of the JRC’s chemical safety and alternative methods unit commented that “we are asking for those opinions to be backed up with evidence, which may well be specific to a chemical assessment.” Thirty pieces of legislation are reported as being considered by the JRC within the scope of the fitness check. Scientists within the center are reviewing the reasoning for decisions applied to EDCs across the different legislations and examining the protection that they provide.

Stakeholders at the event had ranging perspectives on the effectiveness of current legislation. Sylvie Lemoine from chemical industry association Cefic finds the REACH legislation as being an “adequate system” for managing EDCs and said that “we believe REACH is working.” Apolline Roger from the NGO Client Earth said that “if a substance has been identified or regulated as an EDC in a specific regulatory framework, let’s say REACH, then we need snowball consequences in other regulations. For example, “if you have a substance identified as an EDC under REACH as an SVHC [substance of very high concern], we need consequences in food contact materials, in cosmetics, in toys.” Natacha Cingotti from the NGO Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL) is of the opinion that there is “too much lag” between the identification of EDCs and their regulation. Her organization would like for a list of suspected EDCs to be developed. This, she says, would help many industries to innovate that are currently lacking guidance on EDCs.

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EU Commission (November 8, 2019). “First forum on endocrine disruptors.”

Emma Davies (November 21, 2019). “Commission’s JRC seeks evidence from stakeholders for EDC fitness check.” Chemical Watch