Hostile raid of UK/Germany on EU endocrine disrupting criteria


Germany and the UK have produced a joint position paper on how the criteria for endocrine disrupting pesticides need to be developed. These criteria will be part of the new ‘cut-off’ regime of pesticide Regulation 1107/2009 entering in force June, 14. The two countries essentially propose to turn the ‘cut-off’ regime (adverse effects of such pesticides will automatically lead to a ban) back into the traditional risk assessment regime. This risk assessment regime is not very science-based and makes use of many assumptions and theoretical calculations and rarely leads to a ban. With this campaign Germany and the UK are putting a knife in the back of Commission. The undermining activity of both countries is a case of grave disloyalty since Council agreed on the ‘cut-off’ regime.  By proposing a complete overturn of the Regulation these two countries -while looking for more support of other Member States- try to paralyse Commission even before it started to develop a proposal for criteria, due to be published in 2013.

The ‘cut-off’ regime is a new element in Regulation 1107/2009 allowing regulators to ban a pesticide if the properties are very harmful for health, based on good science including independent science. In traditional risk assessment industry gets the chance to propose unlimited methods of evaluation, allowing harmful effects of pesticides being classified as ‘safe’, high exposure of humans considered ‘acceptable’ and dangerous health effects seen in animals as ’irrelevant’ for humans. In this risk assessment regime –used routinely for the past 20 years- regulators were not able to ban a pesticide if industry would go to great lengths to prove their point. Germany and the UK now propose to return to this old ineffective system. New insights and evidence, especially from independent scientists, will in this case be continued to be disregarded, and high levels of exposure -again- considered acceptable.

PAN Europe today send its position paper on criteria for endocrine disrupting pesticides to the Commissioners Potocnik and Dalli. PAN Europe urges the Commissioners to stick to the ‘cut-off’ regime and not allow any change in the text of the Regulation. PAN Europe propose to develop a test system for endocrine properties together with independent, actively publishing scientists to be sure the system is science-based and the public protected. A strong steer from Commission is needed to change the traditional evaluation methods and to withstand the fierce opposition by parties like the UK and Germany more worried about commercial consequences than citizens health.

Hans Muilerman of PAN Europe said: “there is a lot of evidence that many diseases in society like sexual dysfunctioning, mental disorders, cancers and even obesity are linked to endocrine disruption. Criteria for pesticides having such effects are crucial and Commission needs to take the lead to develop these criteria and stop the undermining activities of Germany and the UK”

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Background notes:

PAN Europe position paper

Letter to Mr. Potocnik

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, PAN Europe, hans [at],Tel: +31 (0)6-55807255

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.