MEPs Veto Proposal on Endocrine Disruptors
The European Parliament has blocked the European Commission’s proposal for scientific criteria that would identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in pesticides. On Oct. 4, 389 of Parliament’s 694 members voted against the proposal, with 70 abstentions.
The MEPs said the Commission had exceeded its authority in proposing to exempt pesticides that are designed to disrupt the endocrine systems of target pests, even though they can harm non-target organisms of the same group of species. EDCs are suspected of altering male and female reproductive systems, causing cancer as well as birth defects and other developmental disorders.
Parliament also deemed the move illegal because it contradicts existing legislation that specifically calls “not to approve substances that are considered to have endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects on non-target organisms.
Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said he regretted the vote and “strongly believes that in this case no deal is a bad deal for EU citizens”. He commented: “The Parliament decided to stop the adoption of scientific criteria, which would have ensured better protection of human health and the environment as well as served as a stepping stone to a wider strategy on endocrine disruptors,” adding that the Commission will now need to reflect on the next steps to take.
However, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), said it had witnessed “true democracy in action” and congratulated the European Parliament for recognizing that the new derogation would inevitably result in EDCs staying on the market.
On Oct. 3, the day before the vote, the NGO had published a study showing that more than one-third (34%) of all fruit consumed in the EU is contaminated with residues of endocrine disrupting pesticides.
The Commission is now expected to completely delete the last paragraph of the draft criteria proposal that introduced the exemption.