Setting criteria on endocrine disruptors: Follow-up to the General Court judgment

27-04-2016

Endocrine disruptors are substances that interfere with the functioning of hormones, with potentially harmful effects on health. A wide range of chemicals are suspected of being responsible for endocrine-disrupting activity. Defining scientific criteria for their identification is highly complex and has important repercussions for a wide range of stakeholders. There is a lack of consensus among both scientists and regulators. Work on the issue has been conducted at EU and international level. The European Commission's delay in adopting scientific criteria has provoked strong reactions from various stakeholders. The Commission is expected to come up with scientific criteria and to present the legal acts required before summer 2016. In a judgment delivered on 16 December 2015, the General Court of the Court of Justice of the EU found that the Commission had breached European Union law by failing to act on endocrine disruptors. It concluded that the Commission did not comply with its clear obligation to specify scientific criteria for the identification of chemicals that have endocrine-disrupting properties by 13 December 2013. In addition, it stated that there was no requirement to carry out an impact assessment, which the Commission had suggested was necessary to evaluate the various possible options prior to taking its decision.

Endocrine disruptors are substances that interfere with the functioning of hormones, with potentially harmful effects on health. A wide range of chemicals are suspected of being responsible for endocrine-disrupting activity. Defining scientific criteria for their identification is highly complex and has important repercussions for a wide range of stakeholders. There is a lack of consensus among both scientists and regulators. Work on the issue has been conducted at EU and international level. The European Commission's delay in adopting scientific criteria has provoked strong reactions from various stakeholders. The Commission is expected to come up with scientific criteria and to present the legal acts required before summer 2016. In a judgment delivered on 16 December 2015, the General Court of the Court of Justice of the EU found that the Commission had breached European Union law by failing to act on endocrine disruptors. It concluded that the Commission did not comply with its clear obligation to specify scientific criteria for the identification of chemicals that have endocrine-disrupting properties by 13 December 2013. In addition, it stated that there was no requirement to carry out an impact assessment, which the Commission had suggested was necessary to evaluate the various possible options prior to taking its decision.