EU to vote on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Alfred E. Baldacchino
Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017
The European Commission’s legal act (fourth update) on the draft EDC (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals) criteria proposal is to be discussed on the 28th of February by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF), section phytopharmaceuticals.
Human exposure to EDCs occurs via ingestion of food, dust and water, via inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and through the skin. EDCs can also be transferred from the pregnant woman to the developing fetus or child through the placenta and breast milk. Pregnant mothers and children are the most vulnerable populations to be affected by developmental exposures, and the effect of exposures to EDCs may not become evident until later in life. Research also shows that it may increase the susceptibility to non-communicable diseases.
Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that, can interfere with endocrine (or hormone) systems. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disruptors.
The Endocrine Society has issued a press release dated 14th February, 2017, expressing disappointment in the European Commission’s revised proposal on defining and identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), citing unnecessarily narrow criteria for identifying EDCs that will make it nearly impossible for regulatory agencies to meet the unrealistically high burden of proof and protect the public from dangerous chemicals.
The Society opposes this European Commission’s proposal because it includes broad exemptions that ignore the ability of a chemical to interfere with the endocrine system. The Commission has only presented the criteria amendment for discussion. Since the “negligible risk” derogation amendment will have significant impact on how many endocrine disrupting pesticides will be banned, the two proposals should be discussed together.
More than 1,300 studies have found connections between endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) exposure and serious health conditions such as infertility, diabetes, obesity, hormone-related cancers and neurological disorders, according to the Endocrine Society’s 2015 Scientific Statement.
Enforcement of these regulations requires the European Commission to propose criteria to identify EDCs. The latest proposal from the European Commission does not include categories for identifying EDCs.
Failure to effectively regulate EDCs comes with a high price tag. Recent studies have found that adverse health effects from EDC exposure cost the European Union more than €163 billion each year in healthcare expenses and lost productivity.
It’s in your hands to select a set of criteria that will provide a high level of protection for humans, animals and the environment, from the harmful effects that pesticides can cause.
The next Standing Committee has this proposal on its desk so that Member States can vote on on the 28th of February.
Please make your voice heard and show that you want Malta to vote NO at this meeting (Malta will be represented by MCCAA), and should ask for more improvements in the C omission’s proposal. Please find useful contact details below.
The responsible Ministers are:
Hon. Christopher Fearne, Minister for Health (responsible for Environmental Health) firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Helena Dalli – Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties – (responsible for MCCAA) email@example.com
Hon. José Herrera – Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change (responsible for Environment and Resources Authority) firstname.lastname@example.org
The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) (The statutory Authority to promote, maintain and encourage competition, to safeguard the interests of consumers.) email@example.com