EDC-Free Europe letter to EU Ministers on revised EDC criteria

Monday 14th of November 2016
To: Health, Environment and Agriculture Ministers

Dear Minister,

Ahead of the discussions on the criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals in the Standing Committee of Food Animals Food and Feed on 18.11.2016 under the Pesticides 1107/2009 and Biocides 528/2012 Regulations, we would to like to share our concerns regarding the revised draft Commission proposal.

The EDC-Free Europe coalition opposes this revised proposal because the text still demands too high a burden of proof, fails to address the requirements of the Pesticide and Biocide Laws and is hence also unfit to apply to other EU regulations. The criteria will still fail to protect EU citizens and the environment the way the law intends.

Our two main concerns we would urge you to address:

1) The revised proposal continues to impose an unreasonably high burden of proof to identify EDCs. Although there have been some useful clarifications, the criteria are very difficult to fulfil because of the requirement to prove a consequential link between the adverse effect and the endocrine mode of action. In addition, the draft does not include categories in order to reflect the different levels of scientific evidence available, in spite of the fact that both EU Biocides and Pesticides Laws require the identification of EDCs that `may` cause adverse effects (i.e. suspected/potential EDCs).

2) The revised proposal still keeps the amendments to the Annex of the Plant Protection Product Regulation that alter in a fundamental way the risk management choice agreed by Council, Parliament and Commission in the co-decision procedure. The change in the derogation from `negligible exposure` to `negligible risk` introduces new risk elements to the legislation. By this change, the Commission widens an existing limited exemption into a major loophole that can easily be exploited to enable continued use of identified EDCs. This would allow endocrine disrupting pesticides to be authorised for widespread use. Europeans and the environment will remain unprotected for the harmful effects of EDCs.

The EDC criteria are expected to have wide ranging implications for all EU chemicals laws and therefore the proposal needs to be changed to ensure coherence and to protect human health and the environment. We therefore call on you to oppose the revised Commission proposal and ensure the EDC criteria will provide a high level of protection, are in line with the European law and can be applied across all Regulations pertaining to chemicals.

Your decision will be a critical contribution in the urgent efforts to prevent endocrine-related diseases for Europeans and averting damage from our ecosystems.

With kind regards on behalf of EDC-Free Europe coalition,

Francois Veillerette
President of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe 

Genon Jensen
Executive Director, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL)

Letter available to download here