EU Commission defines endocrine disruptors

Chemical industry: disappointed with criteria for endocrine disruptors

++ No taking into account of potency ++ Safe handling of hormonally active substances is possible

VCI's director-general Utz Tillmann sees the Commission's proposal for the definition of endocrine disruptors in a critical light: "The proposal does not enable a differentiation between hormonally active substances that can be used safely and those substances that have a harmful effect already in low quantities or doses." - Photo: © VCI/Daniel
VCI's director-general Utz Tillmann sees the Commission's proposal for the definition of endocrine disruptors in a critical light: "The proposal does not enable a differentiation between hormonally active substances that can be used safely and those substances that have a harmful effect already in low quantities or doses." - Photo: © VCI/Daniel

In the discussion about regulating hormonally active chemicals in Europe, the EU Commission presented today its proposal for criteria to identify harmful substances in the future. From the VCI’s perspective, the proposal does not take into account the potency of a substance which determines from what concentration or dosage a harmful effect occurs.

After a first evaluation, Dr Utz Tillmann (director-general of the German chemical industry association VCI) states: „We see the proposal by the EU Commission in a critical light. The proposal does not enable a differentiation between hormonally active substances that can be used safely and those substances that have a harmful effect already in low quantities or doses. It remains to be seen how the criteria will be put into practice by the public authorities and how they will be used within existing regulation. No situation should arise where many substances important to modern plant protection or for efficient materials are banned.“

The VCI director-general: „The mere presence of a hormonally active substance does not automatically mean that it causes damage to humans or in the environment. Based on a scientific risk assessment, usually limit values for safe use can be laid down for hormonally active chemicals.“ Tillmann emphasizes: “Safe handling of hormonally active substances is possible.“

For substances identified as endocrine disruptors, a number of rules are already in place in existing pieces of legislation. Within the European chemicals regulation REACH they can fall under an authorisation requirement. The regulations on plant protectants or biocidal products even prescribe far-reaching use bans.

Therefore, Tillmann calls to limit the regime for endocrine disruptors to substances that trigger a harmful effect in humans or in the environment already in low quantities or doses. The decision whether a substance is in need of regulation should take into account the severity of harmful effects, the reversibility of a negative effect and the informative value of scientific data, so the VCI.

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The VCI represents the politico-economic interests of over 1,650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, science and media.The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2015 the German chemical industry realised sales of around 189 billion euros and employed 446,000 staff.

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