Issue Date: October 9, 2017
EU Parliament shuns limited definition of endocrine disruptors
The European Parliament last week rejected a narrow definition of endocrine disruptors that would have allowed their use in some cases. The proposal—put forward by the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch—would have exempted some substances from scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors, such as pesticides designed to attack parasites’ endocrine systems. Environmental groups lauded the vote. The proposal was an “unfit definition because too many chemicals would escape the regulatory net,” the European Consumer Organisation said in a statement. The EU debate over defining endocrine disruptors has long pitted industry interests and agriculture against consumer and environmental groups. In 2009 and 2012, the European Parliament approved laws on pesticides and biocides that required regulation of endocrine disruptors based on hazards they pose. However, by 2015 the European Commission had failed to propose a definition for endocrine disruptors, which prompted the European Court of Justice to condemn the commission for not acting on its commitment. The commission is now expected to formulate a new proposal.
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