EFSA’s attempt to embrace an industry proposal to greenwash chemicals ceased by Health DG SANCO


Food Authority EFSA’s scientific committee last week ‘s planned adoption of the proposal to substitute toxicity testing of chemicals by a controversial ‘threshold’-approach (TTC) didn’t take place because of continuing diverging views with DG SANCO’s non-food Committees. Ongoing discussions will lead to an agreement between the Committees or EFSA needs to explain the differences to the public, PAN Europe learned from a letter send to her by EFSA [1].

From other documents received on the basis of an access-to-documents request of PAN-Europe it can be derived that the SANCO non-food Scientific Committees had big reservations on TTC in a reconciliation meeting on 8 June 2011 with EFSA and the database underpinning TTC [2].  Also the classification used by EFSA and industry lobby club ILSI was not considered adequate by the SANCO Committees. The EFSA working group however kept on pushing the SANCO Committee to adopt TTC the way they developed it. Disclosed documents also reveal an exchange between SANCO-director Mrs. Testori and EFSA-director Mrs. Geslain, showing EFSA insists on its way of dealing with TTC and –if necessary- go its own way [3].

The Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) is developed by industry lobby club ILSI (International Life Sciences Institute) and prepared within EFSA over the last 3 years by a notorious working group composed of industry-linked people in majority [4]. TTC makes live much easier for chemical companies while substances need not undergo expensive toxicity testing anymore and long discussions on risks are bypassed, both reducing costs for companies.

The TTC is an untested assumption and –in effect, by releasing untested chemicals in the market- makes society to a guinea pig. TTC is not based on science but on statistical juggling and arbitrarily composing collections of data, mainly those from industry-sponsored studies. TTC bases itself on outdated science, ignoring current scientific knowledge as effects on the unborn/vulnerable, effects at very low doses such as from endocrine disrupting chemicals and effects on the long term.

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Notes for journalists

Further information

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Tel: +316 558 072 55, E-mail: hans [at] pan-europe.info

© 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.