The Commission announced the move in the first of a series of roundtable meetings held last week, following publication last month of more than 27,000 responses to the public consultation on criteria to identify endocrine disruptors.
It said a report will be published once the consultation responses have been analysed.
The second and third roundtables will be on 23 and 24 April with MEPs and Member States. A public conference is set for 1 June in Brussels.
EDC definition priority list
As part of the new plans, studies will prioritise plant protection products and biocides over other chemicals/cosmetics ingredients.
The focus will be on analysing data and no additional tests will be done, said Eurogroup for Animals, an animal welfare organisation, which was at the meeting.
The group said questions focused on transparency, understanding why specific chemicals were selected and clarity of the screening process.
The first study focuses on which chemicals may be identified as endocrine disruptors under the different options for the criteria.
Joint Research Center (JRC) will develop a screening methodology by the end of April 2015.
A second study will assess potential impacts on health, environment, trade, agriculture, and socio-economy from regulatory actions regarding substances identified as endocrine disruptors.
This needs the results of the first study as an input and is expected to be finalised in 2016.
Unknown when criteria will be set
EU-legislation for the placing on the market of biocidal products (Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) No 528/2012) and plant protection products (Plant Protection Product Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009) had a deadline of December 2013.
The Commission adopted a road map of how to move forward in June 2013. An impact assessment, a process required before new legislation can be put forward, is being done.
No timeline was given as to when the final outcome of the impact assessment can be expected so it remains unknown when criteria to determine endocrine disruptors will be set, said Eurogroup.
Until scientific criteria are defined, protective interim criteria are applicable.
For example, exposure to pesticide residues in food is reduced to levels at the analytical limit of detection for active substances considered to be endocrine disruptors, said the Commission.
It added regulatory action can be taken for endocrine disruptors, under REACH and the EU legislation on food contact materials, citing bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles as an example.
Other options are the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) definition to identify endocrine disruptors, or the use of this definition with additional categories based on strength of evidence.
Option four is using the definition and including potency as element of hazard characterisation.
WHO and IPCS defined an endocrine disruptor in 2002 as: an ‘exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub)populations.’