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.

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