Commission’s persistent failure to publish the criteria, which were due by the end of 2013, breaches EU law
European Commission delays in publishing the scientific criteria needed to identify and reduce exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals, which the UNEP/WHO sees as a global threat to public health, were condemned by Parliament in in a resolution voted on today. The text, on “endocrine disruptors”, points out that the Commission’s persistent failure to publish the criteria, which were due by the end of 2013, also breaches EU law.
MEPs condemn the European Commission not only for failing to deliver upon its obligation to adopt the scientific criteria but also for failing to comply with its institutional obligations as laid down in the EU Treaties, in a resolution passed by 593 votes to 57 with 19 abstentions.
The MEPs also made clear that they will only accept criteria for endocrine disruptors which are based on scientific data, independent of economic considerations, according to a report in EU Food Policy (titled, “MEPs declare position on endocrine criteria with huge majority”; behind paywall, no direct link).
EU Food Policy notes, “The EU regulations on pesticides and biocides say the criteria have to be set on the basis of science and there is no provision for any impact assessment, which the Commission has carried out, to assess the economic effects of any particular policy.”
The European Court of Justice ruled, in December 2015, that the EU executive had breached EU law by failing to publish the criteria and MEPs have repeatedly urged the EU to clamp down on endocrine disrupting substances.
MEPs note that proposed scientific criteria were ready in 2013, but remained unpublished as the Commission decided to launch an impact assessment instead, a move that was neither required by EU law nor appropriate for deciding on a scientific matter, as the Court clarified.
However, they also take note of the Commission’s political pledge to propose the criteria before the summer.
A UNEP/WHO report called endocrine disruptors a “global threat”, referring inter alia to the upward trends in many endocrine-related disorders in humans and wildlife populations. There is evidence of adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to the substances, which could also affect thyroid function, brain function, obesity, metabolism, insulin and glucose homeostasis, it says.