On 15th June 2016, the European Commission published its long awaited scientific criteria for the identification of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The Commission was obliged under EU biocides regulation to adopt scientific criteria for the identification of these chemicals by 13 December 2013. However, it took the Commission three years and a court case, (initiated by Sweden), to come forward with two draft legal acts containing the criteria now needed to be adopted by the Commission under the relevant procedures. French journalist Stéphane Horel chronicles the reasons for this delay in A toxic affair: How the chemical lobby blocked action on hormone disrupting chemicals.
In the context of the Plant Protection Products Regulation, the draft legal text specifying the criteria, will be voted by Member States. For the Biocidal Products Regulation, the draft measure will be discussed in a group of experts from Member States, prior to adoption by the Commission. Both measures involve the European Parliament and European Council - in order to ensure coherence between the two acts, the Commission will present both texts simultaneously to the European Parliament and Council.
As an additional step to these procedures, the European Commission decided to hold a public consultation during the Summer break on its proposed scientific criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors for biocidal and plant protection products. The intention of the Commission is to consider these comments when finalising the criteria that were presented on 15 June 2016.
The consultation was issued following a wave of criticism of the proposed criteria by almost all concerned: industry, scientists, NGOs, and even some member states. HCWH Europe responded as these will be the relevant criteria used for defining EDCs under the Medical Devices Regulation - expected to be formally adopted in the last quarter of 2016. We too are very critical of these criteria, as they require such a high amount of evidence that it will be nearly impossible to identify more than a fraction of the substances posing a threat to human health and the environment from hormone disruption.
You can read HCWH Europe's response to the consultation here.