Category Archives: News

Sweden’s concerns on EU Commission’s EDC “escape route”

Campaign partner Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN-E) highlights Sweden’s concerns on EU Commission’s EDC “escape route”.

Sweden has expressed concern that the EU Commission health service DG SANCO and food safety authority EFSA may be planning an escape route from future implementation of regulation on endocrine disrupting pesticides, according to a press release from PAN Europe today – available here 

A letter from the Swedish Ministry of the Environment was sent to DG SANCO on 24 January this year which accompanies this document.

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

Ban endocrine disrupting chemicals in consumer goods

Ban endocrine disrupting chemicals in consumer goodsCampaign supporter The Danish Consumer Council focuses on EDCs in consumer products as the substances have shown negative effects in animal studies and are suspected of having adverse effects in humans such as infertility, premature puberty, low sperm quality and other serious health problems, as well as causing problems in nature.

Are EDCs really necessary in consumer goods?

No, there are alternatives, and therefore the EU Commission should ban these chemicals before it is too late.

Please sign the petition to ban EDCs in consumer goods

Read more about our work and the chemicals in question:

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

France launches EDC strategy with a clear message for Europe

Ségolène Royal, the new sustainable development minister and former French presidential candidate, recently announced a national strategy in France on EDCs (SNPE). France’s move on EDCs is a push for greater action at EU level.

A key component of the French national strategy, presented and approved by the French national council, is promoting the need for progress on EDC policy at the European level, making France a driver for health and environment protection in Europe. According to a summary of the text (Main actions (in French)) the strategy sets the reduction of the population’s environmental exposure to endocrine disruptors as its primary objective.

With the strategy, the French government announced the following specific actions: propose removal of bisphenol A (BPA) from thermal paper (used in cash-till receipts) for the whole of Europe and encourage voluntary phase out in France; speed up the substitution of BPA in toys, and measures controlling phthalates in toys. The French environment minister also requested the review of five suspected EDCs during the course of this year (and 10 more in the next two years). If these substances are found to be EDCs, France may propose them for further regulatory action under the different EU legislation: REACH, Pesticides or Biocides. Full document is available here: French strategy on EDCs (in French)

EDC-Free campaign partners Réseau Environnement Santé (RES), Générations Futures, and Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) have been key players in ensuring that this long-awaited development has finally take place.

RES, which has played a significant role in raising the issue in scientific and public circles, welcomed the “almost unanimous adoption of the strategy” and said the text represents a remarkable step forward in recognising “the importance of the issue of endocrine disrupters as a risk for public health and the environment.” RES was pleased that the strategy was recognised as an opportunity – rather than an obstacle – for employment growth: the recommendation to substitute EDCs for alternatives will stimulate innovation and competitiveness. More information here

Générations Futures’ reaction focused on the pledge in the strategy not to call for a relaxation of EU criteria related to pesticides. It considered this to be an important victory for its work, which has been to consistently urge the French government to rule out the possibility of revising the criteria (which was recommended in an early draft of the strategy). HEAL, PAN Europe, and Réseau Environnement Santé have made similar demands in the past.

Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) in France welcomed the strategy less enthusiastically due to disappointment that it did not ban EDCs in children’s toys. “Where has the ban on endocrine disrupters in toys gone?” they asked. Their online joint campaign to stop endocrine disrupting chemicals being used in toys (Stop PE) had received 30,000 signatures. In addition, a survey of people involved in France’s multi-stakeholder group for the development of the strategy showed more than half 1,056 responses supported WECF’s petition.

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

EXPPERT 3 Study: How are children exposed to endocrine disrupting pesticides?

genrations futures

Campaign partner Générations Futures’ has launched a report showing that children in a small-scale study in France have an average of 21 residues of endocrine disrupting pesticides in samples of their hair.

Act now. To underline the urgency for preventive actions on EDCs, this French NGO has conducted a series of reports based on laboratory analysis that show the omnipresence of many pesticides in our environment and how much the general population is exposed to EDCs: these are known as EXPPERT reports (French abbreviation of « EXposition aux Pesticides PERTurbateurs endocriniens » which means ‘exposure to endocrine disrupting pesticides’).

Because children are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of EDCs, it is especially important that they are not exposed to them. That is why Générations Futures wanted to look at the endocrine disrupting pesticides to which children may be exposed.

An unprecedented and targeted survey.  The EXPPERT 3 report therefore focuses on the exposure of young children living and/or attending school in agricultural areas. A lock of hair was taken from 30 children participating in the survey, which were then analysed by an independent research laboratory. The samples were collected by the child’s parents between October and December 2013 and the analysis was carried out in early 2014. The investigation tested for 53 pesticides that are suspected to be EDCs.

Results in brief.

  • On average, 21 residues of endocrine disrupting pesticides have been found per child.
  • 35 endocrine disrupting pesticides, or metabolites of endocrine disrupting pesticides, were found at least once (out of the total of 53), that is 66%.
  • On average, 639 pg/mg in hair per child.
  • 13 substances out of the 53 were found in all samples, including various substances that are prohibited in agriculture. However, many of these products and substances are permitted in domestic and veterinary use.

«With an average of 21 residues of pesticides with endocrine disrupting characteristics in the hair samples analysed, the results show that our children are truly exposed to a considerable cocktail of chemical substances,» says François Veillerette, spokesperson for Générations Futures and Chair of PAN Europe.

We have taken note of the progress achieved in the proposed national strategy on EDCs, which takes into account the need to reduce the exposure to EDCs of the population. It is now crucial that the European Commission finally publishes protective and comprehensive EDC criteria, which will enable the EU Regulations on pesticides and biocides to be fully implemented,” he concludes.

  • Press release available here in EN - FR

Campaign post provided by Générations Future. Translation in English by campaign secretariat HEAL

WECF: French National Strategy leaves out banning EDCs in toys, despite wide public support

Although the French National Strategy on EDCs takes into account the demands expressed by NGOs who participated in the discussions regarding the criteria for EDCs and the exclusion criteria for biocides and pesticides, according to campaign partner Women in Europe for a Common Future France (WECF),
the final draft strategy is missing an important point in its proposal as it leaves out banning EDCs in toys. WECF wishes to reinstate this requirement into the text.

In December 2012 during an international conference on EDCs, the Department of Ecology said it wanted to propose a new ‘community level’ prohibiting the placing on of toys and childcare products possibily containing EDCs on the the EU market. WECF welcomed this annoucement which coincided with its own demands. A petition launched by WECF to stop EDCs in toys collected more than 30,000 signatures before being presented to the French Ministries of Health and Ecology.

Following the work of multi -stakeholder groups to develop the French National Strategy on EDCs, the project was submitted for public consultation from July to September 2013. From the 1056 reviews collected online , 629 confirmed their support for WECF’s petition.

EDCs are substances of very high concern that do not belong in children’s products. The National Strategy is a unique opportunity for France to have a clear message to its European partners on the removal of EDCs from our daily lives.

Post provided by WECF France. Translation by campaign secretariat HEAL

European Food Safety Authority discusses BPA comments with NGO and industry

Following an open consultation earlier in the year by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on its draft opinion on the potential health risks of bisphenol A (BPA) for consumers, the Authority held a scientific meeting with NGOs and industry to discuss BPA comments.

Gwynne Lyons, director of campaign partner CHEM Trust belives that the draft opinion is ‘lacking’. As its summary does not encapsulate any of the controversy surrounding BPA, there is not a good overview of the state of play at this point in time. As quoted in Chemical Watch, she recommends that the opinion should include a table to show the lowest dose levels reported to cause effects in animals, to allow comparisons with current exposures.

At the meeting Paul Whaley from the Policy from Science Project presented the results of his review of EFSA’s draft opinion, according to a set of principles derived from the Cochrane Collaboration (CW 24 January 2014). He found the draft opinion to compare “favourably” with earlier opinions, thanks to extra documentation being provided.

As quoted in Chemical Watch, Mr Whaley said that the improvement in transparency also reveals a lack of clarity with regard to best practice in finding, selecting, appraising and synthesising evidence on the toxicity of BPA before interpreting this into a risk assessment. He added that the opinion does not appear to have considered all relevant research.

Following the comments during the meeting, EFSA took on board the need for the summary to better show the uncertainties and perhaps take up the issue of whether or not there may be a margin of safety for some effects. The Authority said it welcomed the feedback and all the issues raised will be assessed carefully as they finalise their conclusions on the safety of BPA in the coming months.

The CEF will adopt its opinion on BPA at the end of 2014 (CW 10 April 2014).

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

CHE call “Endocrine Disruption: Widening the Scope” – air pollution and kids’ health

Campaign partners and supporters TEDX and Commonweal and campaign secretariat HEAL recently organised a teleconference call as part of a series on EDCs hosted by the Collaborative on Health and Environment (CHE).

Dr PereraThis particular call focused on how chemicals in air pollution impact on children’s health, featuring Dr. Frederica Perera, Director of the Columbia Centre for Children’s Environmental Health. She who spoke about the effects of prenatal exposures to EDCs on childhood development.

Chemicals in polluted air can contribute to development delays, behavioural problems and reduced IQ levels in children. During the call Dr. Perera reviewed data from a longitudinal cohort study following mothers and children from pregnancy into adolescence. In this study, prenatal exposure to the combustion related air pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes as well as other disease endpoints. Prevention strategies were also discussed during the call.

You can download the audio recording here and read her recent review in the Lancet Children’s environmental health: a critical challenge of our time

Breast Cancer UK launches new website

Campaign partner Breast Cancer UK’s new website is part of the organisations ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of its information online. With the fresh new design, visitors can see that this is the website to go to for those concerned about the link between rising breast cancer rates and the harmful chemicals in our environment and everyday products.

The website features:

  • new online campaigning tools to enable a wide range of users to keep up to date with developments and to see ‘at a glance’ what they can do to help prevent breast cancer;
  • clearer navigation provides visitors with easy access to information about Breast Cancer UK’s campaigns and to practical advice on how to avoid certain chemicals linked to an increased risk of breast cancer;
  • a dedicated science page will help users keep abreast of the rapidly advancing scientific research on the chemical causes of breast cancer, and;
  • improved functionality has been built into the site to enable the charity to further develop and diversify its content in the future.

The new website will hopefully inspire people to find out more about the chemical causes of breast cancer and empower them to turn awareness into personal and political action for reducing our exposure.