PAN Germany welcomes the opportunity to provide input and comments to the European Commission Roadmap for the Fitness Check on EDCs. Yet, we are concerned about the additional delay resulting from this procedure. The ED-related legislative measures have been slow, and have hardly been implemented or in some cases even established. Therefore, investing resources towards a fitness check at this stage not only seems premature, but also poses a risk of additional and unnecessary delays in implementing EU law provisions, while human beings and the environment continue to be exposed to these chemicals of high concern. Resources should rather be spent a) on the implementation of the current EU law measures that address EDs, b) on the application of available OECD ED testing methods for hazardous chemicals on the market (pesticides & biocides), c) for the development and endorsement of new scientific methods to identify EDs, d) for the establishment of an assessment method to address chemical mixtures (required by EU law since 2005) and –with highest priority– on the development of non-chemical, safe alternatives.
Pesticides & biocides are designed to be biologically active and toxic. Therefore, they may pose a particular risk of affecting the endocrine system of organisms. In order to adequately protect human health and the environment pesticide and biocide regulations stipulate that substances that meet certain scientific ED criteria are not to be authorised, with some exceptions on restricted use (e.g. negligible exposure or if needed to protect serious damage to human). These criteria were due in 2013 but entered into force just recently (June 2018 for biocides, Nov. 2018 for pesticides) and only address certain classes of EDs. Since the entry into force only one biocide substance has officially been recognised as an ED and its uses been restricted. For pesticides, during the 2016 Impact assessment exercise, the Commission identified 32 pesticides already authorised in the EU as EDs, but so far none of these have been classified as EDs. Even with this set of rather narrow scientific criteria, it remains to be seen whether any of these pesticides will be identified as EDs at all. Which is – taking into account the damage EDCs can cause especially on the unborn life – scandalous. For the moment, testing pesticides using the available ED tests (OECD) is not mandatory and in most cases ED analysis is based on non-ED specific tests and speculations. Despite the regulatory measures in place, humans and the environment keep being exposed to ED pesticides and biocides.
PAN Germany agrees with the horizontal approach for the scientific identification of EDs across EU legislations. A substance cannot be classified as an ED under one legislation but not under another. The Commission should create another class of potential EDs in line with WHO (WHO, 2002). This would allow for the identification of potential EDs which are of concern and which than should be excluded from all uses where a direct contact with humans or the environment cannot be prevented or excluded. Beyond, PAN Germany calls to expand the ED definition for biocides/pesticides in a way, that potential EDs are included and also regulated and never be considered as low-risk substances.
The EU should have different regulatory approaches in the different pieces of chemicals legislation. Chemicals have divergent properties and applications and should be regulated accordingly. The higher the chance of human and environmental exposure to dangerous substances is, the stricter the regulation should be. Active ingredients used on open fields like pesticides should never be EDs as exposure of farmers, residents, bystanders, consumers (through residues in food), the environment and its species cannot be prevented.
Priority should always be given to non-chemical alternatives and a high level of protection for human health and the environment.
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