EU health policy on endocrine disruption collatoral damage in Commission health service SANTE's power play

In 2010, EU Commission granted DG Environment (DG ENV) the lead on the development of the criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC's). But EU health service SANCO (now SANTE) was disloyal to this decision. In 2012, SANCO secretly collaborated with DG Enterprise to undermine the work of DG ENV and mandated Food Authority EFSA to redo the work done by DG ENV and the EU Joint Research Center (JRC). In 2013, DG SANCO continued their undermining activities and took advantage of a massive and unprecedented industry lobby that gained easily credibility at economic-focused EU Commission services such DG Enterprise, DG Trade and the Secretary-General. These economic DGs were keen to believe the exaggerated claims of industry about the big profit losses that the banning of EDC-pesticides would bring and were concerned about alleged negative effects of the endocrine policy on the EU-US trade talks (TTIP). Health DG SANTE, in an effort to stop DG ENV, joined forces with these economic DGs behind the back of DG ENV and won the power play. This is what hundreds of documents obtained by PAN Europe on the basis of a series of 'access-to-document' requests demonstrate [1] to what happened behind the closed doors of Brussels Commission services 'dealing and wheeling'.

The result is known; criteria for endocrine disruption were not published -despite the obligation in the EU-legislation to do so- and an impact assessment was requested based on a roadmap with a range of options undermining the agreed policy on endocrine disrupting pesticides by EU Council, Commission and Parliament in 2009.

PAN Europe concludes that DG SANCO seemed obsessed with humiliating DG ENV and hired EFSA to do the first demolition work, knowing very well that industry-friendly EFSA opposed the EU endocrine policy. According to one panel member the EFSA opinion even was embarrassing because it completely contradicted the landmark UNEP/WHO-study on endocrine disruption. For the second 'knife in the back' of DG ENV, the collaborating DGs put in place the Secretary-General to start an economic impact assessment and caused the downfall of the endocrine policy.

PAN Europe feels it is a shame that health DG SANCO completely forgot about its mission to serve the health of citizens and engaged in this wild power play. 

CEO and French journalist Stéphane Horel today publish a report exposing how major European corporations such as BASF and Bayer and their lobby groups have been mobilising to stop the EU taking action on EDCs, using the ongoing TTIP negotiations as a leverage [2].

-- ENDS --

Further information

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, Tel: +316 55807255 hans [at]

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

Pesticide Action Network Europe (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.