Category Archives: News

Call to EU health and environment ministers to phase out hazardous chemicals in medical devices

Campaign partner Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH), together with a number of International and European organisations, recently sent a letter to all EU Health and Environment Ministers to call for their support regarding the phase out of hazardous chemicals, namely CMRs and EDCs contained in medical devices.

They also called on the ministers to support the amendment to the EU Commission proposal, adopted in the European Parliament plenary in October 2013.

You can download the letter here

Post provided by HCWH Europe

”ChildProtect project – Protecting children from hormone disrupting chemicals’

To launch the Life+ Project “ChildProtect – Protecting Children from Hormone Disrupting Chemicals”, on 19 February campaign partners WECF and PAN-Europe as well as Gezinsbond organised a debate on the EU’s policies on EDCs with Members of the European Parliament, scientists, NGOs, and representatives from the DG for Health and Environment.

Children’s health should be a primary concern and there is growing evidence that EDCs may result in permanent health damage to the hormone system of children.

Pregnant women are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis, transferring them to their child in the womb. EDCs can be found amongst others in sprayed fruits and vegetables, plastics, bottles, cutlery, toiletries and cosmetics, toys, clothing and cleaning products. The WHO has highlighted the threat they pose to human health and the European Environment Agency to the risk to the environment. EDCs have emerged as a key challenge for European environment and health policies, but the time-plan for action is being continuously delayed.

Read more about the debate and the Childprotect project here

Post provided by campaign partner Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF)

Law case on access to information on environmental pesticide-testing

In a recent case between campaign partner  PAN-Europe, Greenpeace Nederland and the EU Commission, the General Court ruled that the EU Commission was required to disclose environmental pesticide-testing information to NGOs.

PAN-Europe and Greenpeace Nederland requested access to documents relating to the EU Commission’s decision to authorise the placing of the active substance, glyphosate, on the market. The Commission refused on the grounds that the disclosure of the documents requested would prejudice the commercial interests of the companies involved.

The request was based on a 2001 EU Commission Regulation regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, and on a 2006 Regulation on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies.

Article 4 of the 2001 Regulation provides that EU institutions must refuse access to a document where, inter alia, its disclosure would undermine the protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property, “unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure”.

The Commission considered that the information requested did not relate to emissions into the environment, and that there was no evidence of an overriding public interest in disclosure. The information requested in this case, however, did not relate to the release of substances from installations. Rather it concerned the composition of the active substance, the process by which the substance was produced, and the composition of the finished product, which would be released into the air, by spraying.

The Commission concluded that the need to protect the intellectual property rights of the companies involved outweighed the public interest in disclosure of the information. The General Court rejected the Commission’s claim that the notion of emissions into the environment should be interpreted restrictively.

HEAL in The Parliament Magazine: EU must regulate ‘exposure’ to Bisphenol A

Campaign secretariat HEAL recently published an article in The Parliament Magazine, entitled ‘EU must regulate ‘exposure’ to Bisphenol A’

‘Evidence has been mounting that BPA may have adverse health consequences for reproduction, the nervous system, the immune system, and for cancer risks as well as for the metabolic and cardiovascular systems’.

‘The EU must acknowledge health problems associated with exposure to BPA and take firm steps to protect citizens’, argues Genon K. Jensen, Executive Director of HEAL. 

Read the full article here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

New PAN Europe report – A Poisonous Injection

PAN Europe report a poisionous injectionPAN Europe has recently published a new report entitled ‘A Poisonous Injection: How industry tries to water down the risk assessment of pesticides mixtures in everyday food’.

This report reveals a well planned and orchestrated attempt of industry to undermine policies meant to evaluate the toxicity of chemicals mixtures (cumulative risk assessment, CRA). This is done by putting industry-linked experts in crucial positions in expert panels of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

A massive delay in policy implementation is the result. Eight years after the EU mandated such risk assessments for pesticide residues in food, EFSA still fails to carry them out, leaving consumers and citizens unprotected against the harms of mixtures of pesticides in food.

Download the report here

According to the report, 52% of EFSA experts and 73% of WHO experts have links with industry.

Recommendations from PAN Europe are for:

a). WHO must revise their CRA recommendations by appointing active scientists without ties to industry

b). WHO must reinforce its independence policy so as to ban conflict of interests

c). WHO to make sure any policy development is done by independent scientists and –if stakeholders are invited- only a balanced stakeholder representation should be allowed. WHO must immediately stop collaborating exclusively with industry lobby groups such as ILSI and ECETOC

e). EFSA must strengthen their policy on conflicts of interest and ban them from their panels

f). EFSA must set up more ‘check and balances’ in the organisation to ensure that any capture from whatever side is prevented

g). EFSA must immediately adapt food standards for pesticide residues to account for the daily mixture of pesticides in food as it can be observed in real life situations

h). The EU must stop allowing industry lobby groups to apply for taxpayers’ money in the Framework program and use it to develop industry policy proposals.

i). EFSA must effectively prevent dual roles so that people who have been involved in advising on the introduction of a certain tool are not involved in the development of implementing the tool.

Post provided by campaign partner PAN Europe

 

Call for action on EDCs by the European Parliament and member states

The Swedish minister for environment, Lena Ek, threatened to sue the EU Commission for the delay in identifying EDCs. This announcement echoes concerns from the S&D party in the European Parliament, who called on the Council to act.

The Swedish minister expressed her dismay about the slow action on banning endocrine disruptors, and announced she would take legal action if the delay continued.

Earlier in the year two social democrat MEPS – Linda McAvan and Åsa Westlund asked the Council of the EU to push the EU Commission to deliver the delayed criteria on EDCs. The delay to identify and assess endocrine disruptors as per the pesticides and biocides laws means no EU legislation and a problem that clearly needs action to protect citizens’ health.

After missing the deadline for criteria in December 2013, EU Commission representatives announced that the EDC criteria would be delayed by at least one year.

EDC-Free campaign partners are not only very concerned about the delay in identifying EDCs, but also calls for the launch of the revised EU EDC strategy as soon as possible. The continued setbacks mean lost opportunities for prevention of chronic disease and for healthcare savings.

Read more

Victoria Martín de la Torre (January 27, 2014). “S&Ds strongly criticise the Commission for delaying action on endocrine disruptors.” Socialists & Democrats.

http://www.foodpackagingforum.org/News/MEPs-call-for-action-on-EDCs

3,800 Spanish public health experts call on Spain’s Minister of Health and EU Commission to adopt a stricter regulation of EDCs

Barcelona, 31 January 2014 - The levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in Spanish population (called “internal contamination”) are much higher than in other countries and threaten the heath, the wellbeing and the economy of our citizens and of our welfare state.

Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that are present in many products used in our daily lives. Their incorporation into the human body can produce reproductive health problems (e.g., infertility, congenital malformations), tumours and other diseases in hormonal dependent organs (breast, prostate, testis, thyroid), metabolic diseases (diabetes, obesity), immunologic disorders and disruption of the development of the neurological system, among others.

In addition to the direct effects on human health, these pollutants have negative environmental effects.

The heavy pressure of the chemical lobby in Europe and Spain are impeding the implementation of basic principles of public health, through appropriate regulation and the implementation of risk reduction policies. These pressures to defend corporate interests are delaying action by all administrations to protect the health of the population.

That is why the Spanish Society of Public Health and Health Administration (SESPAS), which brings together 12 scientific societies and 3,800 professionals and scientists of the field of Public Health in Spain to advocate for public health, demands Spanish and European authorities to act guided by the public interest.

SESPAS spokesmen on endocrine disrupters and internal contamination:

Professor Miquel Porta. Professor of Public Health. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Tfn.: 34-609 067011. Email: mporta@imim.es

Professor Nicolás Olea. Professor of Radiology. Universidad de Granada. Tfn.: 34-615944854.

Email: nolea@ugr.es

Other contacts: Ildefonso Hernández Aguado. Chair of SESPAS. Tfn.: 34-651611162

Supplementary material:

SESPAS website

SESPAS letter to Spanish Health Minister on endocrine disrupters

SESPAS letter to the European Commission on endocrine disrupters

This letter has been sent to:

Anne Glover. Chief Scientific Adviser to José Manuel Barroso
Catherine Day. Secretary-General European Commission
Tonio Borg. European Commissioner for Health.
Janez Potočnik. European Commissioner for the Environment Environment
Joaquín Almunia. Vice-President European Commission. European Commissioner for Competition

Post provided by campaign supporter Ecologistas en Acción

EDC-Free campaign news no.2 January 2014

Will 2014 be EDC-Free? What’s disrupting you and your family?

Delays are wasting opportunities for prevention of chronic disease and healthcare savings

2013 was supposed to be the year for an ambitious EU strategy on EDCs but where is it? After delay and delay, we still have many unanswered questions about how the EU will act on removing hormone disrupting chemicals from our daily lives. Continuous setbacks in the release of the EU EDC revised strategy are wasting opportunities for prevention of chronic disease and healthcare savings.

The European Commission has obtained ample scientific input and should publish a revised strategy as soon as possible and ensure that REACH does not authorise chemicals that are hormone disruptors when safer alternatives exist.

What can you do?

You can let your governments know we want and need an EDC-Free Future. 2014 is another crucial year: the EU is hugely behind schedule on several EDC policy outputs from last year, and is due to review the EU Cosmetics law by January 2015.

Every few months we will have a new theme for your photos. The first theme is around cosmetics and toys. With the festive period over and a New Year here we would like you to tell us what you are concerned about at the beginning of 2014? Did you get new cosmetic products for Christmas? Did your child get a new toy?

Please upload and send in your photos via our webpage www.edc-free-europe.org/how-to-take-action/

Resources

Stay connected!

  • We update our Facebook page on a regular basis with news and petitions from the EDC-Free campaign partners and supporters – Please like and share this page

 Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @EDCFree and retweet us!

Here are a few samples and suggestions of who you can tweet to in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to use these useful hastags #whatsdisruptingyou? and #EDCFree

#whatsdisruptingyou? in 2014. Where are #EDCs lurking? Take action now for an #EDCFree future http://bit.ly/13oYQgK  http://bit.ly/1c5WOKE

#whatsdisruptingyou? Are #EDCs lurking in your children’s #toys, your #cosmetics, your clothes? Take action today! bit.ly/13oYQgK 

This month you could tweet to the following:
@BarrosoEU@borgton@TheEndoSociety@SaferChemicals@womensvoices – @CEHN@MumsnetTowers@ProjectSAFEYARD
@MomsRising