Time for the EU to identify and regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals

Brussels, 16 January 2014  – Today the European Commission (EC) Public Consultation on the identification of criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) will close.

The Consultation has given all interested stakeholders the possibility to express their opinion on whether criteria for the identification of EDCs should be set by the EC and, if so, how. Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe participated in the consultation as the representative of European healthcare professionals and organisations concerned by the impact of EDCs on human and environmental health.

Among the policy options proposed in the EC Roadmap on "defining criteria for identifying Endocrine Disruptors in the context of the implementation of the Plant Protection Product Regulation and the Biocidal Product Regulation", published in June 2014, HCWH Europe, along with the other NGOs involved in the EDC-Free Europe Campaign, strongly supports policy option 3: the establishment of a comprehensive, cross-cutting system for the identification of EDCs, based on three categories: confirmed, suspected and potential EDCs.

We believe that the third category should be named "potential EDCs" and not "endocrine active compounds" so that all different levels of evidence available depending on the data situation can be taken into consideration. In addition, such a system will be coherent with the current classification of chemicals that are carcinogenic and reprotoxic. The “confirmed and suspected” category should be used as a basis for regulation. The “potential” category should be used to gather further information on the potential hazardous properties of the chemical.

Furthermore, HCWH Europe, along with its EDC-free Europe campaign partners, does NOT support policy option 4, which takes into consideration potency. The proposal to use the potency of a chemical to determine regulation is scientifically flawed. Potency is not a characteristic of a chemical but depends on the timing of exposure (particularly prenatal) and how effects (what endpoint) are measured. Therefore, the potency factor would only identify some hormone disrupting chemicals that harm our health and environment, and not all of them.

Finally, HCWH Europe calls for a comprehensive and effective system for identifying EDCs that would facilitate the regulation of these chemicals via the different laws governing their uses, i.e. food contact materials, pesticides, biocides, cosmetics and medical devices. The Medical Device Regulation Proposal, currently under debate in the European Council, states that particular attention should be given to EDCs. The European Parliament, in its amendment adopted in Plenary in October 2013, further requested EDCs to be identified by the setting of criteria as required in the pesticides and biocides regulations. 

“Only through an appropriate identification of EDCs can these chemicals be adequately regulated and the protection of human health and the environment guaranteed,” stated Grazia Cioci, Policy Director for HCWH Europe.

Read HCWH Europe’s response to the Public Consultation on the identification of criteria for EDCs. 


Media: Rosalind Simpson, Communications and Press Officer, HCWH Europe

E. rosalind.simpson@hcwh.org T. +32 2503 4911

Policy: Grazia Cioci, Policy Director, HCWH Europe

E. grazia.cioci@hcwh.org T. +32 2503 0481

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