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Childers rejects free pass on hormone disrupting chemicals

Press Release

Wednesday 4 Oct 2017

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, hailed today’s blocking, in the European Parliament, of an EU executive proposal to exempt certain pesticides from the EU’s evaluation of whether chemicals can be harmful to hormonal health.

Speaking from Strasbourg, where the vote was held at Parliament’s plenary session this afternoon, Ms. Childers said:

Everyday, we come into contact with endocrine disrupting chemicals which interfere with our hormonal systems by breathing, eating drinking or skin absorption. They are present a vast range of items ranging from food and drink and the respective packaging, cosmetics to toys.

Pregnant women, babies and children are particularly vulnerable to their effects.

Parliament legislated, years back, with the governments of Member States to ban such substances, and gave the EU executive a mandate to set scientific criteria to determine whether chemicals disrupt the normal functioning of hormonal systems, so as to safeguard human health and the environment.

There was nothing in the legislation allowing the EU executive to propose an exemption for pesticides that attack insects’ endocrine systems by design, which will affect non-target species as well.

So we proposed a rejection to the full house from the Environment and Public Health Committee, in the face of a lobby onslaught by chemical industry and the opposition of conservative members, so this outcome was not guaranteed.

Moreover, the criteria which the Commission is belatedly presenting us with have been criticised by the endocrinology community as exceedingly narrow, which can let many chemicals slip through the net.

I’m happy to see a majority of colleagues came to agree with them and with us, in the Environment and Public Health Committee. The Commission has dragged its feet over the years, was even taken to the EU court over their failure to act on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and they still fail to properly implement the legislation we’ve approved here.

We need the EU executive to get back to work and propose scientific criteria which will effectively contribute to protect us, the environment and future generations from the harm these chemicals cause.”