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.