New rules to regulate Europe’s hormone-disrupting chemicals

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The full article by Arthur Neslen was originally written for the Guardian

The European commission has launched the world’s first system for classifying and banning endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), against a barrage of criticism from scientists, NGOs, industry and consumer groups.

Endocrines are hormone-altering chemicals common in everyday substances from paint to pesticides that have been linked to an array of illnesses including cancer, infertility, obesity, diabetes, birth defects and reproductive problems.

Attempts to regulate them have been plagued by missed deadlines, buried official papers, censure from EU courts, and US pressure within the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations.

Hailing the release of the long-delayed endocrines policy, the EU’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that it showed that the commission was: “committed to ensuring the highest level of protection of both human health and the environment.”

But the proposal triggered an immediate backlash from endocrine scientists and green groups who said that it set an impossibly high burden for proof of public harm, when the onus should have been on chemicals manufacturers to show their products were safe.

The proposal put on the table on Wednesday takes its cue from a World Health Organisation definition of substances that have an endocrinal mode of action causally linked to an adverse health effect on humans.

Read more via the Guardian
New rules to regulate Europe’s hormone-disrupting chemicals