How will the Commission act on endocrine disruptors?

Peter Holdorf, Mara Fehling

In July 2018, the European Commission released its Communication on a ‘Comprehensive European Union framework on endocrine disruptors’ outlining the strategic approach to deal with these substances in the future.

To do this, the European Commission is undertaking a Fitness Check on endocrine disruptors to look at how the various pieces of relevant EU legislation delivers on the objective of protecting human health and the environment by minimising the overall exposure to endocrine disruptors.

A key part of the strategy is to work towards a horizontal approach to the identification of endocrine disruptors, following the example under regulations on biocides and plant protection products.

The strategy will further seek to achieve consistency in the regulatory consequences for endocrine disruptors across legislation and update data requirements in the different legislative frameworks to improve identification of endocrine disruptors.

The European Commission’s communication followed substantial pressure by the European Parliament and the Member States to step up action in the area almost 20 years after the ‘Community strategy for endocrine disruptors’ was launched in 1999.

To implement the strategy, the European Commission wants to take an inclusive approach. On 8 November 2019, the European Commission hosted the First Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors bringing together stakeholders from industry, NGOs, Member States and the scientific community to discuss the challenges. The European Commission also opened a public consultation that ended in early March 2020 to gather the views of stakeholders.

The results are now available, and we’ve looked at the feedback. The consultation results show that the approach to endocrine disruptors remains a divisive issue in the EU despite the steps towards greater stakeholder involvement.

As the European Commission prepares to publish the outcomes of the Fitness Check on endocrine disruptors in parallel with the Sustainable Chemicals Strategy, some difficult decisions need to be made in the coming years on the approach to endocrine disrupting chemicals.

The FH Brussels Environment and Chemicals team gives you an idea of the key results.