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Update: EC wraps up EDC review

By Michelle Yeomans+

15-Jul-2014
Last updated on 15-Jul-2014 at 12:38 GMT

The European Commission has implied in a recent review paper that it has concluded ensuring that REACH covers the assessment of EDCs.

The paper presented to REACH and CLP, revealed that the Commission does not intend to make further amendments and suggests that companies applying for authorisation of substances with endocrine-disrupting properties will only be able to go via the adequate control route if they can demonstrate a threshold exists.

The document will be transformed into a Commission Communication and published by the end of the year where the ECHA Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) will then judge the arguments presented.

The news comes after Commissioner Janez Potočnik told member states that there will be progress on the call for action at an EU Environment Council meeting last month.

Announcement follows disappointment at 'lack of action'

Potočnik, responding to a note that stressed the need to act at European level “to prevent risks and limit exposure" to EDCs, stated that a public consultation would be published "in the coming days". 

The request put before the council also included a call for a European definition consistent with the toxicological and ecotoxicological characteristics of EDCs and based on the intrinsic hazardous properties, without considering potency.

There was also a request to establish three categories of substances: known, presumed or suspected EDCs, depending on the degree of certainty about their properties.

Prior to the assembly, Danish Environment minister Kirsten Brosbøl had expressed her disappointment at the lack of action of the European Commission in adopting criteria that determine if a substance is an EDC.

"Today, we are one of the countries that bring up the case and tell the Commission that this is unacceptable," she said. 

EDCs in the EU

EDCs are generally referred to as synthetic substances that have hormonal activities and therefore might interfere with either the production or the activity of hormones within the endocrine system, leading to adverse effects. Among substances suspected to be EDCs are bisphenol A, phthalates, parabens, several synthetic UV-filters, and pesticides.

Although the use of EDCs in cosmetics like parabens, ethyl methoxycinnamate and benzophenon are currently not illegal, the EU’s policy is to allow only those ingredients that have been proven safe.

The UK and Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) have previously developed a tiered assessment concept for EDCs and human health impacts.

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