An unsettling compromise: Member States support Commission’s unfit proposal on hormone disruptors

The protection of the health of Europeans as well as that of the environment from the harm caused by hormone disruptors remains a secondary issue for EU Regulators, as Member States confirmed today by voting in favour of the European Commission’s “controversial” proposal that sets the criteria for endocrine disruptors. The criteria risk failing to identify which pesticides effectively are endocrine disruptors and conveniently, will have little impact on the pesticide industry that places these products on the market.   

Today, a qualified majority of Μember States voted in favour of the Commission’s draft proposal setting out the criteria to identify pesticides that are endocrine disruptors at the Standing Committee on Plants Animals Food and Feed, of Commission’s Health Directorate DG SANTE. The Standing Committee, which is dominated by Member State representatives from the agricultural sector, was called to vote once again on the updated version of the Commission’s proposal; the previous proposal was blocked by the European Parliament on October 4th.

The Parliamentary objection was based on the grounds that the Commission had gone beyond its legal mandate and included a derogation that would authorise the use of endocrine disrupting pesticides that harm non-target (non-pest) organisms.

Hence, it appears that in today’s meeting Member States had to “compromise” and accept to comply with the European Pesticide Law (Reg. 1107/2009), which aims to ensure a high level of protection from the harm caused by pesticides for all species.

Nevertheless, the ‘compromise’ is misleading. The criteria in their current form are still unfit for regulation as they require an unprecedented high level of evidence to identify pesticides as endocrine disruptors, which does not reflect today’s scientific knowledge on endocrine disruptors. Therefore, the criteria will fail to meet the adequate level of protection foreseen by the European regulator. This had previously emerged also from declarations by Sweden and Denmark, in line with the concerns raised by European civil society organisations, while Endocrinology experts from around the world had also expressed their disappointment with regard to the Commission’s previous proposal containing the same high burden of proof.

Moreover, the guideline on the criteria implementation produced last week was characterised as doomed to fail to identify substances that are endocrine disruptors, reflecting once again that Regulators are more keen to protect big corporations than human health and the environment. PAN Europe stresses that these substances are sprayed on open fields and are detected in people’s daily fruit salad.

Angeliki Lysimachou, PAN Europe’s environmental toxicologist states “It is deeply disappointing to see that these crucial decisions related to human health and the environment are taken in a committee where Member State representatives interested in maintaining an intensive and highly unsustainable agricultural system outnumber those advocating for health and environmental protection. These people should not have a say about the protection of our children’s health and of the environment”.      


Contact: Angeliki Lysimachou, Environmental Toxicologist and EDC campaign coordinator +32 2 318 6255; 



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