Endocrine Disruptors are Back in the Spotlight in the EU

On June 21 2018, the EU Commission published a Roadmap informing stakeholders and citizens that it would be fulfilling its earlier commitment to establish a comprehensive framework concerning endocrine-disrupting chemicals (“endocrine disruptors”).

Scientific research has provided evidence and demonstrated that endocrine disruptors can have a significant impact on human diseases and negative impacts on wildlife.  This has created widespread political and public concern.

While they are already regulated to some extent elsewhere in various pieces of EU legislation on pesticides and biocides, chemicals in general (“REACH Regulation”), medical devices and water, this has been deemed insufficient.

The research has shown that there is particular sensitivity to endocrine disruptors of organisms in their developmental stages in many different ways.  There is increasing evidence that exposure to a combination of endocrine disruptors can produce adverse impacts at levels lower than an individual one.

Due to the complexity of the issue, the legislative changes to control usage will not happen immediately.  Questions to determine if there is a safe threshold and what the cocktail effect of exposure to multiple chemicals is, will impact the development of better legislation to deal with endocrine disruptors.  While pesticides and biocides are the primary focus, we can expect this to impact their use in all products and manufacturing processes where there can be exposures.

Our industry needs to be involved proactively to understand potential impacts to the materials we use.  By providing input into the development of a more comprehensive framework for dealing with endocrine disruptors in the EU, we can help minimize potential negative impacts to our products.

California Safer Consumer Products Priority Product Work Plan for 2018-2020

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has published their three-year Priority Product Work Plan. Two of the categories that impact the automotive industry are Cleaning Products (carried over from the last three-year plan) and Lead-Acid Batteries.

Cleaning Products

“Automotive Product” means a chemically  formulated consumer product labeled to indicate that the purpose of the product is to maintain the appearance of a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 670 of the Vehicle Code, including products for washing, waxing, polishing, cleaning, or treating the exterior or interior surfaces of motor vehicles.  “Automotive Product” does not include automotive paint or paint repair products.

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries are found in a wide variety of forms and functions, the most common being 12-volt car batteries. Lead-acid batteries contain three Candidate Chemicals: lead, arsenic, and sulfuric acid.  Inclusion of this category in the Work Plan allows DTSC to finalize evaluation of lead-acid batteries as a potential Priority Product.

DTSC established goals for the 2018-2020 Work Plan include:

  • To protect children from exposures to harmful chemicals from consumer products, especially carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants, neurotoxicants, developmental toxicants, and endocrine disruptors.
  • To protect workers from exposures to harmful chemicals from consumer products.
  • To protect California’s valuable and limited water resources and aquatic ecosystems from consumer product-derived chemical contamination.

DTSC stakeholder participation is needed as these actions are reviewed for these priority products.