EU member states vote on hormone-disrupting chemicals criteria

A list of criteria relating to hormone-disrupting chemicals has been approved by member states, edging closer towards regulation

Yesterday, EU member states voted in favour of a list of criteria set out by the European Commission to identify hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Endocrine disruptors are used to protect farm animals and plants from diseases as well as pests. However, they can potentially disrupt hormones within the human body, leading to a range of health problems.

The agreement of the criteria is a positive step, moving the EU closer towards a common standard for these chemicals.

In a statement, Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said: “After months of discussion we are advancing in the direction of the first regulatory system in the world with legally binding criteria to define what an endocrine disruptor is. This is a great success.

“The text will ensure that any active substance used in pesticides which is identified as an endocrine disruptor for people or animals can be assessed and withdrawn from the market.”

Controversial issue

The body produces hormones via the endocrine system. These hormones are then secreted into the blood stream to help regulate certain bodily functions. Endocrine disruptors are suspected to be behind a number of conditions including obesity and infertility. They are found in numerous items such as cosmetics and even toys.

An agreement on the issue has been difficult to reach, with significant wrangling taking place between industry and consumer/agricultural groups.

The decision made on Tuesday was decided by a technical team at the commission but will require the endorsement of all 28 member states to proceed.


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