The European Commission (EC) has officially adopted the revised criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in plant protection product (PPPs). The European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) endocrine disruptor expert group is gearing up for an increase in workload after the EC’s criteria for identifying EDCs under the biocidal products regulation and plant protection product (PPP) regulation take effect on 7 June 2018 and 10 November 2018, respectively.
For PPPs, this finalises the development of the criteria, which have been subject to controversy in the last few years. The final version was accepted after the EC removed a problematic exemption in its original proposal, with the EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (ScoPAFF) voting in favour of the criteria back in December 2017. Neither the European Parliament nor Council raised any objection during the scrutiny period following voting. Their chance to object ended on 9 April 2018.
“The EU is now the first worldwide to have strict legally binding criteria to identify endocrine disruptors” the Commission stated in a press release. The ED criteria will apply to all ongoing and future evaluations of active substance used in PPPs and biocides.
Despite the revisions, the final criteria are still deemed devoid, with the criteria centred round hazard rather than potency. This could potentially have a significant agronomic impact upon Europe’s farmers with the loss of a number of substances.
NGOs are critical that the guidance is limited because it only focuses on adverse effects from interaction with oestrogen, androgen, thyroid and steroidogenic (EATS) endocrine disrupting properties, commenting that the mode of action analysis is too burdensome and should not be required.
The EC Organisation (BeuC) will now focus on extending the ED criteria beyond biocides and pesticides.
ECHA and the European Food Safety Authority are currently finalising the guidance document, which is due to be published in June 2018.
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