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In July, at the request of a few Member States, the European Commission brought back an amendment of the Pesticides Regulation that was severely criticised in 2016 by the European Parliament and several other Member States. This amendment was put back on the table of the Member States in the context of the Standing Committee on Plans, Animals, Food and Feed (ScoPAFF). This Proposal attempts to weaken significantly the level of protection against endocrine disruptors set in the Pesticides Regulation.
In doing so, it forces Member States, the European Parliament and civil society to keep playing a resource intensive and dangerous whack-a-mole game which has been going on for years. If lost, this unfortunate ‘game’ will lead to the exposure of people and the environment to endocrine properties against the express intention of the co-legislators.
The Proposal to amend such an essential element of the Pesticides Regulation goes beyond the Commission’s delegated powers. It touches the very core of the Pesticides Regulation: the determination of what risk ‘acceptable’ for society. It is also not motivated by any new scientific developments, contrary to the Commission’s allegations. The decision, taken in 2009, to limit exposure to endocrine disruptors to a negligible level is based on scientific knowledge revealing that these chemicals have the potential to cause harm of equivalent seriousness as cancer. Since 2009, the scientific knowledge on endocrine disruptors has expanded in a way that supports stricter control of endocrine disruptors – and not a weaker one, which would be the result of the Commission’s proposal.