EU Parliament on endocrine-disrupting compounds: Time to act

Europe's parliament overwhelmingly calls for the European Union to "swiftly take all necessary action" to protect human health and the environment against the dangers posed by endocrine-disrupting compounds.

The European Parliament on Thursday called out the dangers posed by endocrine-disrupting compounds and urged the European Union to take action to safeguard human health and the environment.


The resolution, approved on a 447-14 vote, called on the European Commission "to swiftly take all necessary action to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment."

This "is a strong and scientifically sound resolution calling for the EU Commission to stop dithering and start acting," said EHN.org founder and chief scientist Pete Myers.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, commonly called EDCs, interfere with the exquisite chemical balance required for proper functioning of hormones. They are linked to a variety of common diseases like cancer, infertility, type 2 diabetes, obesity, learning and memory problems and neurodegenerative diseases.

EDCs are ubiquitous, appearing in in the lining of canned foods, in cosmetics, as an ingredient in household cleaning products, nonstick ware, water repellent papers and clothing, in sunscreens, plastic tubing and toys, and in pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables.

"The evidence continues to grow and grow," wrote Dr. Leo Trasande, a professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine, and population health at New York University, in his new book, Sicker Fatter Poorer. "Now is the time to take concrete steps."

The EU resolution passed with a large cross-party majority. It sets out priorities for prompt action on EDCs and instructions for the next European Commission coming in office later this year, noting that there is "no valid reason to postpone effective regulation."

"The European Parliament has made a landmark statement and is showing that strong action against endocrine disrupting chemicals is an absolute priority," said EDC-Free Europe's campaign coordinator Sandra Jen in a statement. "Now it is up to the European Commission to propose legislation to ensure that people's health and our environment across Europe are protected against EDCs."



EDC-Free Europe and a coalition of science and nonprofit organizations have long called on the EU Commission, EU Parliament and European governments to update the 1999 European strategy on EDCs.

On Thursday, Parliament acknowledged that: "The revision of the 1999 Community strategy for EDCs," the resolution states, "is long overdue."

Correction appended: Earlier versions of this story misreported the vote tally: The EU Parliament voted 447-14 (with 41 abstentions).

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