After years of delay and quibbling by the European Commission on how far it would go to protect EU citizens from Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) , the end results suggests not far enough! Up until now EDCs, which are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, infertility and allergies, have had no effective regulation despite the fact that they can be found in a variety of products we live and work with on a daily basis. Scientists and independent scientific institutes have submitted evidence and written to the EC to express their concern about the ‘unfit for purpose’ EDC criteria. But despite scientific concerns and a petition signed by almost half a million people the Commission has now produced and agreed flawed criteria to assess EDCs which will fail to prevent unnecessary exposure for citizens and workers.
The criteria simply don’t go far enough and set the burden of proof so high for EDCs it’s unlikely many will be identified and therefore exposure will continue. The text as it stands will also allow an exemption for certain pesticides which are designed to be endocrine disrupting to get thru the loophole.
Initially Denmark, France and Sweden complained of the high burden of proof in the commission’s proposal but France’s newly elected president Emmanuel Macron voted through the criteria despite outlining his concerns before the election. But according to Chemsec in a press release from the French Ministry of Ecology it said that in return for its vote France got the Commission to commit to a number of actions against EDCs. These include an EU-wide strategy for toys, cosmetics and food packaging, the immediate implementation of the new criteria to substances currently being re-assessed, and an additional 50 million euros for EDC research. In addition, France promised even more activities at national level.
Twenty-one member states voted in favour of the criteria, with the Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden voting against. Hungary, Latvia, Poland and disappointedly but not surprisingly the UK abstained.
The EDC Free Europe Campaign is now calling on the European Parliament to reject these ineffectual criteria and to properly protect us from these harmful chemicals. The Alliance for Cancer Prevention is so very disappointed by this lack of care by the EC which will see hundreds more suffer and die from largely preventable illnesses and diseases such as cancer due to EDC exposure. Especially after the many years of campaigning and the considerable scientific evidence weighted on the side of stronger criteria. This decision will have crucial implications for the future health of our children and the wider environment according to ChemTrust.
While individual EU countries can decide the health and wellbeing of their citizens are worth protecting and implement effective criteria –it’s unlikely we will see such progressive and prevention public health legislation from the UK government.
Press release from EDC Free Europe.