Commission's endocrine criteria proposal beyond legal mandate, EU Parliament decided.

Today 389 of the 694 members of the European Parliament voted against Commission's controversial proposal for criteria for endocrine disrupting pesticides. The Parliament, for the first time ever, used its tiny democratic right of "scrutiny" it has in this case, the right to block a Commission proposal. Commission now has to go back to the drawing board and change the proposal together with the representatives of the Member States in the Standing Committee. 

The criteria proposal has been characterised as scientifically “unfit” to protect people from the potential harms caused by EDCs[1], and now, with the agreement of the parliament, it has also been deemed unlawful, as the Commission went beyond its legislative power in implementing a derogation for non-target organisms.     

Following the objection, the Commission is now expected to completely delete the last paragraph of the draft criteria proposal, which was introducing an arbitrary exemption for pesticides specifically designed to disrupt target pests’ endocrine system even if these were causing endocrine disruption and consequently harm to non-target organisms of the same group of species. This was not in the Commission’s mandate and contradicts the requirements of the pesticide regulation that specifically calls “not to approve substances that are considered to have endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects on non-target organisms” (Annex II, 3.8.2).

PAN Europe congratulates the European Parliament for recognising that the new derogation was illegal and would inevitably result in pesticides designed to be endocrine disruptors to stay on the market. The criteria already require such ‘a high burden of proof’ to identify a substance as an endocrine disruptor, that it remains unclear how many pesticides will be regulated, if at all. The derogation was only making the situation worse.

A recent analysis by PAN Europe revealed that 37% of our EU fruit contains endocrine disrupting pesticides reported in the scientific literature to cause harm in animals and probably in humans: their removal from the market is urgent as no European country remains unaffected[2].

Angeliki Lysimachou of PAN Europe adds “Today we have witnessed true democracy in action. As such, we would like to congratulate all MEPs that have opposed to Commission’s attempt to bend the rules and voted to object the controversial ED criteria proposal that would only prevent from removing harmful pesticides from the market”.


Contact: Angeliki Lysimachou, Environmental Toxicologist, PAN Europe angeliki [at] ; +32 2 318 62 55


[1] Endocrine experts united in disappointment with European Commission's proposed criteria on EDCs, July 2017.

[2] PAN Europe, 2017. Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides in European Food.

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