Category Archives: News

Upcoming webinar: Endocrine Disruptors in the Healthcare Sector

Campaign partner Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH) has opened registration for the upcoming webinar Endocrine Disruptors in the Healthcare Sector,  taking place on Wednesday 24th September from 15.30 – 16.30 (CEST).

The webinar is free to attend and is targeted towards medical professionals. Discussion will centre on the impact of EDC exposure on human health and ways to minimise or avoid exposure.

Speakers include Dr R. Thomas Zoeller, Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Dr Gavin Ten Tusscher, Paediatrician at the Westfriesgasthuis in Hoorn, The Netherlands.

Registration is available here.

More information about the speakers is available here.

EU Commission publishes roadmap for EDCs criteria options

The EU roadmap to set criteria to identify EDCs under EU legislation has finally been published. It sets out several policy options for the EDC criteria and different possible approaches to regulatory decision-making. A public consultation on the options is expected to be launched soon.

The roadmap sets out the Commission’s plans for an impact assessment of three different criteria scenarios to define EDCs. The Commission, which was due to propose criteria in December 2013, had announced last summer that it would have to do an impact assessment first.

Some NGOs have already expressed disappointment that the roadmap indicates the Commission is moving back towards a more risk-based approach to EDCs, in contradiction to the Pesticides and Biocides laws which were approved by the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The roadmap makes little mention of the health and environmental benefits of the establishment of scientific and regulatory criteria for society as a whole. While EDC criteria are required only by the Biocides and Pesticides regulations, the EU Council and Parliament in several instances have called on the Commission to establish horizontal, hazard-based scientific criteria to identify EDCs, because it will be relevant to other legislation which regulate EDCs such as REACH, Cosmetics, Medical Devices, the Water Framework Regulation, Pharmaceuticals, and Food Contact Materials.

In the Commission roadmap, four policy options are considered, which are laid out separately from three possible approaches to regulatory decision making:

  • Option one would only have interim criteria in the Biocides and Pesticides laws used.
  • Option two and three involve six steps to evaluate different elements (adversity, mode of action, human relevance, etc).
  • Option three includes three categories for EDCs (EDs, suspected EDs, and Endocrine Active substances).
  • Option four includes potency as part of the hazard characterisation.

The roadmap gives an initial assessment of the impacts of the four policy options and three regulatory approaches. A detailed impact assessment on the options for criteria and policy will begin this year. Progress on the criteria has been held up by internal discussions between different Commission departments, but the EU Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik told EU ministers recently that a public consultation on the options would begin very soon.

New HEAL report: Health costs in the EU – How much is related to EDCs?

front cover of reportExposure to food and everyday electronic, cosmetic and plastic products containing  EDCs may be costing up to €31 billion per year in the EU, according to a report launched this week by campaign secretariat the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

 

 

  • Spiralling rates of hormone-related disease may be due to exposure to hormone-mimicking synthetic chemicals found in food, drink and everyday products.
  • New study says if a small portion of hormone-related cancers, diabetes & obesity, and infertility could be avoided by reducing exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals, then billions in costs from these diseases and conditions could be saved.
  • A change in European chemicals policy could massively reduce costs associated with cases of hormone-related diseases and conditions. EU should act now.

You can download the full report here

The calculation in the report draws on a list of diseases and conditions that expert scientists involved in EDC research have identified as “endocrine-related”. They are:

You can download HEAL’s policy statement here

Press release – EN- DE- FR

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

How TTIP could harm our health

A Pan-European coalition of non-profit groups including campaign partners HEAL, Greenpeace, Générations Futures, EEB, has called for a fundamental change in the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), to protect public health and ensure a transparent and democratic policy debate.

In a joint statement entitled ‘People, environment and democracy before profit and corporate rights’ 120 organisations express a deep concern about the various threats posed by the TTIP.

These civil society and trade union organisations are strongly committed to challenging the ongoing negotiations for the TTIP, in order to ensure transparent and democratic policy debate. They underline that any agreement must serve the public interest and our common future. Signatories represent a wide range of public interests including environmental protection, public health, agriculture, consumer rights and protection of food and farming standards, animal welfare, social and labour standards, workers’ rights, migrant rights, unemployment, youth and women’s issues, development, public access to information and digital rights, essential public services including education, integrity of financial systems, and others.

There are concerns that the TTIP could undermine the EU’s high level of protection against hazardous chemicals. There are vast differences between the EU and US system for addressing the problems arising from toxic chemicals.

Campaign partners HEAL and CHEM Trust have published a briefing entitled “TTIP – how the EU-US trade talks could harm our health by affecting chemicals regulation”.

This briefing introduces the horizontal and particular features of the TTIP that could negatively affect EU chemicals and pesticides management, fracking for natural gas, and dampen the progress made in global fora on international chemicals risks.

The next round of negotiations are to take place in Brussels during the week of 14 July. The EU has now published a proposal for a specific chapter in the agreement on chemicals, which covers prioritising chemicals for assessment and risk management, classifying and labelling chemicals, identifying and addressing emerging issues, and data sharing/confidentiality issues. The rather vague four page text can be found here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

Round Table discussion on EDCs and public health

On 11 June campaign supporter Wemos Health for All,  a Dutch NGO, and campaign partner Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) organised a roundtable at the Dutch parliament on EDCs. HEAL’s Lisette van Vliet spoke at the event.

The objective of the meeting was to inform journalists and politicians about the scientific research on EDC’s and the risks they pose to children, babies, fertility and wildlife. Moreover, the EU policies concerning EDC’s were discussed in comparison to measures that have been taken by individual European countries.

Research has shown that EDC’s are playing a role in the increasing incidence of breast cancer, testicular cancer and infertility in the EU. This makes this topic particularly worrying and important for public health.

Dr. Annelies den Boer from Wemos moderated the successful event. Presenting to Parliamentarians, civil servants, reporters and local Dutch NGOS, were scientists, including Dr. Majorie van Duursen, Toxicologist from Utrecht University’s Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences; Prof. Dr. Juliette Legler, from the Free University, and coordinator of the EU-funded research project OBELIX; Dr. Gavin ten Tusscher, Pediatrician from the Westfriesland Hospital; and Professor Niels Skakkebaek from Copenhagen University. Lisette van Vliet from the HEAL Secretariat also presented on the EU policy issues.

Currently, the Netherlands does not have a national strategy on NGOs, but the Dutch Health Council has recently completed a report on EDCs. The Netherlands has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the EU, and its testicular cancer rate is also increasing.

The full report of the Policy Round Table has been published on WECF’s Dutch language website.

The programme is available here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

France put EDCs on agenda of Environment Council

After the successful release of a French national strategy on EDCs, France initiated a debate on the EU’s policies at the meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg on 12 June.

Campaign partner Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) France, together with other French NGOs including campaign partners Générations Futures and Réseau Environnement Santé (RES) who supported and actively took part in the elaboration of a French national strategy on EDCs, were particiularly pleased that EDCs were put on the agenda of a meeting of EU Environment Ministers on 12 June.

Ahead of the meeting a briefing note circulated by France and supported by Sweden and Denmark, urged the EU to take action on EDCs.

It is positive to see that five EU member states – Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Austria and Belgium supported the French briefing note and joined forces to ask the EU Commission for a swift move forward on EDCs in Europe.

It is hoped that these concerns will also be shared by Italy, who will take over the EU presidency of the Council for the next six months as from 1 July 2014. The work programme of the Italian presidency for the environment sector does not yet include endocrine disrupters.

The French NGOs are particularly pleased with the position of France, which is both coherent with the package of measures contained in its national Strategy and consistent with the need to put an end to the long-lasting standstill on the adoption of EU EDCs criteria and Strategy.

Resources

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

Practical advice on harmful chemicals during pregnancy

BUND edc and pregnancy leafletCampaign partner BUND has published a leaflet in German with practical advice on chemicals that can be harmful during pregnancy.

Expectant mothers want the best for their baby, so they therefore often refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and eating certain foods. What is less well known is that chemicals in everyday products can endanger the development of the unborn child. Pregnant women should therefore take particular care to avoid contact with harmful substances.

During pregnancy a lot of questions arise: Which foods to buy and which to avoid, which cosmetic products to use, how and when to build the new “nest” for the baby and what to keep in mind about chemicals when doing this…?

In many areas avoidable dangers can lurk for the offspring. For example: food cans often contain the EDC bisphenol A which can be harmful for the hormonal system of an unborn child.

BUND’s new leaflet gives tips for a pollution-free pregnancy – available here (DE)

Post provided by campaign partner BUND

Greenpeace study on toxic chemicals in world cup sportswear

Greenpeace football toxics Campaign partner Greenpeace has published a new study about sportswear and chemicals. This is the first study that has specifically focused on football kits which are being sold for the World Cup taking place in Brazil in June this year.

This study follows on from several previous investigations published by Greenpeace as part of its Detox campaign, which identified that hazardous chemicals are present in textile and leather products as a result of their use during manufacture.

For the Greenpeace investigation, 33 products in total including boots, shirts, goalkeeper gloves, and a ball were bought from sixteen different countries/regions around the world and sent to the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter (UK) with a duplicate sent to Greenpeace Germany.

After being dispatched to independent accredited laboratories, the football boots and gloves were investigated for the presence of perfluorinated chemicals (PFC). All the products were analysed for nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) and phthalates, and the football boots and ball were analysed for dimethylformamide (DMF). This is the first time that Greenpeace has investigated products for the presence of DMF.

The full report is available here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL