Pesticides that are endocrine disruptors (EDs or EDCs for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals) are currently being sprayed on European fields and public green areas and may be the cause of a wide range of endocrine-related diseases that have been observed in farmers, their children, residents, bystanders and consumers. They also contribute to the environmental and ecosystem degradation we witness today. The European Commission had the task to deliver a set of criteria to identify EDCs and remove them from pesticide and biocide products, when the resulting exposure is not negligible. The EDC criteria are meant to be "horizontal" as they will be applied in other EU chemical legislations (REACH, medical devices, water framework directive, cosmetics etc).
In June 2016, two and a half years passed its legal deadline, the European Commission’s Health Directorate DG Sante - presented to Member States a first draft of what could only be considered as a set of ‘scandalous’ criteria to identify endocrine disrupting pesticides and biocides, together with significant changes in the legislation. To our deep disappointment, the Commission not only proposed criteria with unreasonably high burden of proof that will take years of testing to prove a chemical is an EDC, but with the proposed legal text, even when an EDC is identified it won’t get banned from use in pesticide or biocide products if the “risk” is negligible. Farmers, residents, the environment and consumers will still be exposed to these dangerous chemicals.
The criteria proposal and the support it received by certain Member States reveals that the EU Juncker regime is actually dismantling the democratically agreed rules set to protect people against endocrine-related health effects (e.g. breast and prostrate cancer; metabolic diseases as obesity and diabetes; reproductive disorders and infertility) and child health (e.g. mental disorders), in order to reduce costs for industry, increase their profit and please the US, Canada, Japan and others in the trade negotiations (e.g. TTIP/TTP, CETA, Codex etc).
This site was created at that time to raise awareness across Europe on the effects of EDCs and the need for their effective regulation by using adequate scientific criteria to identify these chemicals and protect humans and the environment from their adverse effects. In 2016, PAN Europe together with its members and allies started a tour in Europe to make people aware of the disastrous proposal of Commissioner Juncker and stimulate national politicians to stand up for people's health. In Tallinn, The Hague, Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona, Hamburg, Athens, Namour and other EU capitals and European cities, press conferences and specific events will be organised with top-level endocrinologists, medical doctors, health practitioners and experts to inform the European countries about this scandal. It is now in the hands of each EU Member State and decision makers to demand protection for our people, our environment and the future generations.
The criteria received strong criticism by the scientific community and some Member States, and the Commission had to modify the criteria text several times to reach a qualified majority of Member States to vote in favour. Further, it removed the proposed ‘illegal’ amendment on negligible risk, for the time being.
On Tuesday 4th of July 2017, EU Member States finally voted in favour of the European Commission’s fifth draft proposal on EDC criteria, which will be used from now on to identify chemicals which have disrupting properties that negatively affect the endocrine (hormonal) system of humans and non-target organisms.
The criteria proposal evidently still contain loopholes, which top Endocrinology experts have warned the Commission and Member States that will result in “failing to protect citizens and the environment from the dangers posed by EDC exposure”; this is mainly because in the main criteria text, the burden of proof required to classify a substance as an EDC is so high that leaves room for misinterpretation and will inevitably result in getting only few, if any, dangerous substances banned.
It is now in the hands of the European Parliament and the Council to recognise the weaknesses of the current criteria proposal and veto it.
In the meantime, the Commission has asked the scientific expert groups of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), to prepare a guidance document explaining in detail how these criteria will be applied to identify EDCs. The guidance document, which will be ready end of 2017, will play a key role to determine how the EDC criteria will be used and how effective they will be to protect human and the environment from the adverse effects of these chemicals.
PAN Europe, together with its members and allies, will continue its work towards a high level of protection for humans and the environment from endocrine disrupting pesticides and biocides.
This website aims to provide a detailed map of EDC proliferation and awareness events across Europe. For further information and for access to relevant documents, please see: Factsheets; Legal; Regulatory; Scientific; PAN