MEPs say in a resolution voted on Thursday that the Commission has exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt some substances, such as pesticides deliberately designed to attack a target organism’s endocrine system, from the scope of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disrupters.
This exemption would mean that certain substances with an endocrine disrupting effect could not be included in the scope of scientific criteria being developed for the purpose of regulating endocrine disrupters.
Under today’s EU legislation, an active substance can be approved only if it is not considered to have endocrine-disrupting properties on non-target organisms.
MEPs add that the proposal fails to include a category of “suspected” endocrine disruptors, meaning that “no action can be taken against such substances, unless a complementary proposal is made”.
The objection, tabled by MEPs Jytte Guteland (S&D, SE) and Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) was adopted with 36 votes to 26. It will be to a vote by the full House at the 2-5 October plenary session in Strasbourg.
Identifying endocrine-disrupting properties of chemical substances through scientific criteria is a first step in reducing exposure to them.
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. These criteria were due at the end of 2013, and 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 outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to the substances, which could also affect thyroid function, brain function, obesity, metabolism, insulin and glucose homeostasis, it says.
Briefing_Comission proposals on identifying endocrine disruptors