Strasbourg : on 4th October, the European Parliament MEPs took a plenary vote – Objection pursuant to Rule 106: draft Commission regulation amending Annex II to Regulation (EC)1107/2009 by setting out scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine disrupting properties – and rejected the criteria to identify endocrine disruptors by 389 votes against and 235 for (majority at 376).
Substances having endocrine disrupting properties are substances that alter functions of the body’s endocrine (hormone) system and hence may have harmful effects on humans and wildlife.
EU Parliament Press Release
MEPs say that the Commission exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt substances which are actually designed to attack an organism’s endocrine system, e.g. in pests, from the identification criteria.
The objection, proposed by MEPs Jytte Guteland and Bas Eickhout, was approved by 389 votes to 235, with 70 abstentions, producing the absolute majority needed to block the proposal. The European Commission will therefore have to draft a new version of the text, taking into account Parliament’s input.
EU legislation requires that pesticides or biocide substances have no endocrine-disrupting effects on other species than the ones targeted. To apply this legislation, the EU needs a list of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors.
The Commission proposal related to the scientific criteria for identifying endocrine-disrupting properties of chemical substances. The identification of these scientific criteria is a first step towards measures reducing their presence and protecting citizens’ health.
The European Court of Justice ruled in December 2015 that the EU Commission had breached EU law by failing to publish criteria for determining endocrine disrupters due at the end of 2013. MEPs have repeatedly urged the EU to clamp down on the substances.
A UNEP/WHO report called endocrine disruptors a “global threat”, referring inter alia to the upward trends in many endocrine-related disorders in humans and wildlife populations. There is evidence of adverse reproductive effects (infertility, cancers, malformations) which could also affect thyroid function, brain function, obesity, metabolism, insulin and glucose homeostasis, it says.
- Identifying endocrine disruptors: Parliament blocks plans exempting some pesticides, EU Press Room Ref.: 20171002IPR85122 Created: 04-10-2017 – 13:45
- EU Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 (COM(2016)0157 – C8-0123/2016 – 2016/0084(COD)), PE 599.728v02-00 A8-0270/2017.
- EU MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION pursuant to Rule 106(2), (3) and (4)(c) of the Rules of Procedure, on the draft Commission regulation amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 by setting out scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine disrupting properties (D048947/06 – 2017/2872(RSP)), PE611.468v01-00 B8-0542/2017.
Endocrine Society eager to collaborate with EU lawmakers on science-based regulations
Washington, DC – The Endocrine Society, the world’s largest organization of endocrinologists, welcomed the European Parliament vote Wednesday objecting to proposed criteria that would have failed to identify endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) currently causing harm to public health.
In the months leading up to the vote, the Society, whose members are scientists and physicians who specialize in researching and treating hormone health conditions, repeatedly expressed concerns the rejected criteria would not ensure a high level of health and environmental protection.
An EDC is a chemical or mixture of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects by interfering with hormones in the body. EDCs contribute to serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and neurodevelopmental and reproductive disorders. Scientific criteria to effectively and regulate EDCs are critical to ensure the health and wellbeing of the public for this and future generations.
There are more than 85,000 manufactured chemicals, of which thousands may be EDCs. EDCs are found in everyday products and throughout the environment.
The rejected criteria failed to support the latest scientific evidence. The proposal contained arbitrary exemptions for chemicals specifically designed to disrupt target insect endocrine systems that have similarities in humans and wildlife. The Endocrine Society, the European Society for Endocrinology, and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology previously released a statement strongly objecting to the addition of loopholes in the criteria as they create frameworks where potentially dangerous chemicals cannot be defined as EDCs by law.
New, science-based criteria need to be developed to maximize the ability to identify chemicals that pose a threat to human health. It will be critical for scientists with expertise in hormone biology and endocrine systems to be deeply involved in the processes to identify EDCs. The Endocrine Society’s experts are prepared to play a role providing scientific guidance on the development of effective criteria for identifying EDCs.
Vote to reject flawed EDC criteria creates opportunity to protect public health, endocrine news-room, October 04, 2017.
- Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: 2nd Endocrine Society Scientific Statement, 2015.
- Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: 1st Endocrine Society Scientific Statement, 2009.
- Watch our DES and EDCs research gallery on Flickr, EDCs video playlist on YouTube.