Europe’s Copa-Cogeca wants to see more from the European Commission (EC) on how hormone disruptors – or endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) – are authorised and used in EU agriculture.
“We want a risk-based approach and not the hazard-based approach proposed by the Commission today,” said Copa-Cogeca secretary general Pekka Pesonen.
The comments from Copa-Cogeca came after the EC presented a draft legal act for identifying EDCs in plant protection products and biocides on 15 June.
What are EDCs?
They are predominantly man-made substances found in materials such as pesticides, metals, additives or food products like meat, according to the World Health Organization. These chemicals can interfere with the hormone system and cause cancer and birth defects in humans.
Serious health impact
Responding to the announcement, Pesonen said “robust scientific evidence” should be the start of any decision to identify EDCs. He also questioned whether the EC’s decision to accelerate assessment of EDCs would “lead to a loss in the quality” of examination.
In the EC’s announcement, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said EDCs could have “serious health and environmental impacts”. He added that the EC was committed to protecting human and environmental health.
However, Pesonen criticised the proposals and said farmers will be put at a “clear competitive disadvantage”. This is because further restrictions on EDC use in the EU would be offset by importing agricultural goods from non-EU countries, where use is more lax.
This would result in consumers eating products containing EDCs, defeating the purpose of protecting the public and ultimately causing more difficulty for farmers. “Failure to retain an economically competitive EU agriculture sector puts European jobs and growth at risk,” added Pesonen who urged the EU to heed his advice.