A dangerous and unlawful definition of hormone-harming chemicals in pesticides has today been rejected by the European Parliament.
Known as endocrine disruptors, these chemicals interfere with human hormones and may cause cancer, infertility or impaired brain development. The European Parliament voted to reject the definition of endocrine disruptors proposed by the European Commission. A lawful and effective definition of such chemicals is crucial if laws designed to protect people and the planet are to work properly.
ClientEarth lawyer Dr Apolline Roger said: “The European Parliament has rightly acted as the guardian of the rule of law and democracy, in the name of European citizens.
“This sends a strong signal to the European Commission, which essentially attempted to illegally rewrite the Pesticides Regulation by adding an exception to the ban of endocrine disruptors in pesticides. This would have only benefitted the pesticides industry.”
The European Parliament is the only EU institution directly elected by citizens, and today it embraced its responsibility to uphold European democracy. Today’s vote is a victory for EU countries like Sweden, which opposed the Commission’s proposal in the committee of national experts responsible for approving it.
Ban on endocrine disruptors in pesticides is essential
It is also a clear warning to the Commission, which should now drop its other attempt to soften the ban of the use of endocrine disruptors in pesticides, formulated in a pending proposal.
Although the vote means there is still no official criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in pesticides, stopping the Commission’s proposal was an essential step to protect people and the planet.
We now expect the Commission to try to blame the European Parliament for delaying the adoption of identification criteria. However, the delay of almost four years is mainly due to the unnecessary and biased economic ‘Impact Assessment’ carried out at the initiative of Commission.
The Commission must now propose objective, ambitious and scientific criteria to identify endocrine disruptors across all EU laws, as required by the European Parliament and the Council in the 7th Environment Action Programme.
In the meantime, ClientEarth calls on EU countries to use the available legal tools to identify chemicals that are endocrine disruptors, and restrict their use. The EU chemical legislation REACH has, in that regard, a decisive role to play.
ClientEarth will keep a close watch on the next moves of the Commission, which must now adopt a new version of the criteria under the pesticides regulation and under the biocide regulation.