Endocrine disruptors are chemicals which under certain conditions can impact on the hormonal system of humans and animals. Endocrine disruption is a fairly recent way of looking at the toxicity of chemicals. In recent years, the scientific community and authorities worldwide have been discussing this topic and how to regulate it. Significant progress has been achieved, both in the EU and international organisations.
Adoption of a strategy on Endocrine Disruptors
On 7 November 2018, the Commission has adopted a Communication, confirming its commitment to protecting citizens and the environment from hazardous chemicals. The Communication also outlines how the Commission intends to ensure that the EU approach remains the most modern and fit-for-purpose in the world.
The Communication delivers on the commitment taken by the Commission last year, when working with Member States on the criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in the areas of pesticides and biocides. It addresses the concerns of the European Parliament and the Council and follows up from the 7th Environment Action Programme.
Developing a legislative framework
- The European Commission has a Strategy on Endocrine Disruptors since 1999. Subsequent revisions to EU legislation on chemicals took this strategy into account. The 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP), adopted in 2013 by the European Parliament and the Council, provides for the harmonisation of hazard-based criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors.
- The Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 and the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) 528/2012 provide for the establishment of scientific criteria to identify substances with endocrine disrupting properties.
- Additional regulatory provisions for endocrine disruptors are covered under REACH, the Regulation on cosmetics, and under EU legislation on food contact materials.
- On 15 June 2016 the Commission adopted a Communication presenting the latest state of play on the file and the way forward. It also endorsed two draft legal acts setting scientific criteria to identify endocrine disruptors, which went/are going through the relevant adoption procedures.
State of play
The biocidal products criteria are published and will apply from 7 June 2018.
The plant protection products criteria are published and will apply from 10 November 2018.