EDC-Free Europe, a coalition of more than 70 civil society groups concerned over the impacts of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on our health and environment, welcomes European Commission’s adoption of proposal to upgrade the EU regulation for the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals (CLP) as a significant step forward towards better protection of people and environment against exposure to harmful EDCs. The reform presented today by the European Commission is one of the building blocks for the implementation of the European Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability adopted in October 2020.
The EDC-Free Europe campaign has long called for the CLP regulation to catch up with well-established scientific evidence on the impact of EDCs present everywhere in our daily life but so far overlooked by this overarching regulation for classification of chemicals.
It is particularly important that the new hazard classes introduced for EDCs include a hazard category for suspected EDCs, in addition to the category for known and presumed EDCs. The hazard category for suspected EDCs will allow classification of substances for which there is substantial but not yet enough scientific evidence to be classified as a known or presumed EDC. In line with the current CLP approach followed for the classification of substances which have carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic properties (CMRs), the system of categories for classification of EDCs in the CLP will provide for more transparency in the supply chain and more information for workers and the public.
The coalition also welcomes the new hazard classes for chemicals with persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) properties, and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) properties. The new classes for persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) and very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) substances are another important addition, in particular for protecting drinking water resources.
However, the transition periods set for the implementation of the new provisions are very long. The coalition also regrets that the level of evidence required to actually classify substances as suspected EDCs is still very high. As a result many substances of concern are likely to remain outside of the scope of scrutiny provided by the Regulation.
“The changes to the annexes of the CLP regulation will eventually allow for better control of these harmful chemicals on the EU market. However, they still need to be completed with urgently needed adjustments of other key pieces of EU legislation to minimise exposure, in particular REACH, and legislation on toys, food contact materials or cosmetics, in order to truly protect health and the environment,” explains Sandra Jen, campaign coordinator at the EDC-Free Europe coalition.
EDC-Free Europe also welcomes the steps taken by the EU to include EDCs as a hazard class in the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the human hormone system, and can be found in plastics, furniture, cosmetics, toys, food contact materials, synthetic pesticides, and other consumer products we use on a daily basis. Health costs linked to exposure to EDCs have been estimated to be over 163 billion Euros in Europe alone.
For more information on EDC-Free Europe’s engagement on this topic:
- Letter: EDC-Free Europe urges EU Commission President to uphold commitments for EU legislative protection against endocrine disruptors (13 October 2022)
- EDC-Free Europe campaigners welcome the publication of the draft proposal for new EU hazard classes for endocrine disruptors (21 September 2022)
- Infographic: How can a revised CLP Regulation help identify harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals? (8 August 2022)
- Infographic: Reforming EU rules on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of chemicals to better protect health (26 April 2022)
- EDC-Free Europe partners comment on the EU public consultation on the revision of EU rules on classification, labelling and packaging of substances (17 February 2022)
- EU public consultation on the revision of EU rules on classification, labelling and packaging of substances ends mid-November (4 November 2021)
- Health and environment groups comment on EU Commission’s roadmaps for revision of REACH and CLP regulations (16 June 2021)
- EU Commission commits to fast implementation of chemicals strategy during EU Forum on endocrine disruptors (26 February 2021)
- EU chemicals strategy opens doors to better protection against endocrine disruptors, but swift implementation is key (14 October 2020)
- EU Chemicals Strategy is opportunity to protect citizens from endocrine disruptors (20 June 2020)