Reminder: The European Commission failed to adopt scientific criteria by 13 December 2013 for the identification of hormone disrupting chemicals under the Biocides Products Regulation. That law, adopted in 2012, requires biocide substances to be examined for endocrine disrupting properties, and if found, to be taken off the EU market except under certain circumstances. A similar even stricter law exists for pesticides. The European Commission Environment Directorate General had made good progress on draft criteria by spring 2013, but after immense lobbying by the chemical manufacturers and pesticide companies, the European Commission Secretary General decided an impact assessment on the criteria and further regulatory adjustments was necessary and under the new Commission President Juncker, the work on biocides criteria was transferred to the Health Directorate General.
Brussels, Luxembourg 18 November 2015 – A crucial court hearing against the European Commission took place yesterday. The European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg heard Sweden’s case against the Commission for failing to fulfil its legal obligations regarding hormone disrupting chemicals, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
Sweden’s anger erupted after the European Commission missed its legal deadline to put forward criteria to identify EDCs by the end of 2013. The case is supported by the EU Council of governments, which is considered to be the highest political body of the European Union. The European Parliament and three governments are individually backing Sweden. They are Denmark, France and the Netherlands.
Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Adviser, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), who attended the hearing, says:
“When all EU governments and the European Parliament join together to prosecute the European Commission, it is clear that the Commission is getting it wrong. These delays are keeping Europeans exposed to chemicals that contribute to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and obesity, infertility and learning disorders. We look to the European Court to make the Commission abide by deadlines set in European law to protect the health of Europeans.”
EDCs interfere with the body’s highly sensitive hormone system. Studies point to EDCs causing obesity, diabetes and cancer. Even tiny amounts of EDCs pose particular risks to unborn children and infants. Policies are urgently needed to reduce human exposure. (3) Costs attributable to exposure to a selected sample of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (with only the highest probability of causation) were recently estimated at €157 billion per year in the European Union.
The EU Commission is currently conducting an impact assessment partly prompted by intensive lobbying by the chemicals and pesticide industry. This is expected to delay the setting EU criteria for defining EDCs until 2017 at the earliest.
For Press releases, Media coverage, Notes for journalists and Contacts, visit HEAL’s paper.