Endocrine disruptors: a manipulation of the European Commission?

cover-r4x3w1000-583d6c1329ba8-000_par8143393“Endocrine disrupters can … be treated like most [chemical] substances of concern to human health and the environment.” It is on this single sentence, resulting from the conclusion of an opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2013, that the European Commission would have based its future plan to regulate endocrine disrupters. The first regulation in the world on these substances capable of interfering with our hormonal system at tiny doses and suspected of altering human reproduction or creating neurological disorders. The terms used in the EFSA sentence are all important: if endocrine disruptors are considered to be comparable products to others, they do not need severe regulation. The Le Monde newspaper said on 29 November 2016: “This key phrase on which the regulatory structure proposed by the Commission is based has been drafted even before scientific expertise really began”. In other words, the European Commission would have developed its own evidence to avoid too harsh regulation of endocrine disrupters …

A key phrase from EFSA taken up as an argument by industry

Supporting documents, Le Monde reports that in December 2012, EFSA is already advancing by e-mail “conclusions / recommendations” to the experts it has assembled to issue an opinion: “Endocrine disrupters and their harmful effects should Be treated as any other chemicals of concern to human health or the environment, “it says. The key phrase is therefore already there, only a few days after the first meeting to set up the work and three months before the publication of its opinion. This small phrase would also appear “all-going” in correspondence between the major groups of the corresponding pesticide industry and the European institutions, according to the newspaper.

Contacted by Sciences et Avenir, EFSA assured that it had delivered its opinion only after having “consulted the documents issued by international experts and assemblies” analyzing “the scientific criteria that can distinguish endocrine disruptors from other groups of chemicals” . But in 2013, experts from this European body are wondering about the merits of their future conclusions, according to Le Monde. One month before the publication of the opinion, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program published a joint report on endocrine disrupters, concluding that the traditional risk assessment methodology Chemicals is inadequate. But the EFSA is just right … to the contrary! The “current findings where we explain that endocrine disrupters can be treated like most other chemicals … isolate us from the rest of the world and could be difficult to defend,” writes an EFSA official. Contacted also by Sciences and Future, the European Commission did not wish to express itself on the accusations of the World.

This case is bad for Brussels, already accused in June 2016 of having given a definition of the endocrine disruptors requiring proven effects on human health, thus excluding the results obtained in the animal and hindering any prohibition of these molecules … En Complement to the survey published on November 29, 2016 in Le Monde, nearly a hundred scientists signed a forum in this same newspaper. They denounce the “manufacture of doubt” by industrialists in the field of endocrine disrupters and defend the creation of a group – like the IPCC for the climate – to assess scientific knowledge for The general interest and without the influence of lobbies.

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