The European Parliament calls for better protection of human health from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)

Brussels — Health Care Without Harm Europe welcomes the European Parliament’s report on the protection of public health from endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) (1), adopted today by the Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee).

In its resolution the ENVI Committee called on the European Commission to revise the EU Strategy on endocrine disrupting chemicals with the aim to better protect human health by highlighting the precautionary principle. The Members of the Environment Committee stressed that measures to protect human health should be implemented even if harmful effects of exposure to EDCs are only presumed and even if the causal link between the exposure and the disease is not fully understood.

Moreover, the ENVI Committee called on the Commission to base criteria for identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals (legally required by the EU pesticides and biocides laws) on hazard, given the state of the art research and taking into consideration exposure to a mixture of EDCs and exposure during critical windows of development (i.e. foetuses and infants).

Finally, the ENVI Committee’s Resolution recognises that safety threshold values for exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals do not exist as any exposure may entail a risk and that EDCs should be regarded as Substances of Very High Concern under REACH.
“This is a good basis for the Commission to improve the EU EDCs Strategy in order to guarantee better protection of human health from EDCs exposures in Europe. The setting of sound criteria for the identification of EDCs is welcomed and needed in order to effectively reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals, in particular of vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children” says Grazia Cicoi, Policy Director of HCWH Europe.

A few European Member States, like Denmark, Sweden, France and Belgium have already banned the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials intended for children. Denmark has also banned four phthalates with endocrine disrupting property (DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP) in some consumer products like shower curtains and tablecloths. France has banned from 2015 onwards the use of tubes containing DEHP in paediatrics, neonatology and maternity wards in hospitals. With the ENVI Committee’s resolution, which will be voted in plenary in March, the European Parliament tackles EDCs for the first time. HCWH Europe hopes that the discussion on EDCs will carry on in the European Parliament during the debate of the new Medical Device Regulation’s proposal, which states that special attention should be given to endocrine disrupting chemicals, but it is not ambitious enough to provide for a phase out of EDCs, including phthalates, in medical devices.

Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. Visit the HCWH website for more information.