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Potential Trade Effects on U.S. Agricultural Exports of EU Regulations on Endocrine Disruptors

European Union (EU) regulations on crop protection products classified as endocrine disruptors have the potential to negatively impact 40 percent, or more than $4 billion, of exports of agricultural commodities from the U.S., according to a report released on Nov. 21, 2013. The report was commissioned by CropLife America (CLA) and authored by Kyd D. Brenner, senior consultant for DTB Associates LLP. 

Under Regulation 1107/2009, established in the EU in 2009, certain groups of crop protection products would be assessed according to hazard-based principles that conflict with the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement to which the EU is signatory. This regulation also runs counter to accepted science-based risk assessment procedures utilized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

If implemented, the regulation threatens to imperil the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Exports from the U.S. to the EU have already fallen significantly relative to other exporting countries, in large part due to existing EU SPS barriers to trade. The report predicts that the largest effects would be felt in exports of tree nuts and fruit ($1.577 billion); soybeans and groundnuts ($1.516 billion); and grains ($0.586 billion). Non-trade effects would include increased costs and decreased profitability for producers and exporters in the U.S.

In the U.S., the EPA conducts testing on all new pesticide active ingredients in order to determine their potential impacts on human health. This robust process includes an analysis of potential interactions in the human endocrine system, which fluctuates with the presence of many naturally-occurring elements, from sunlight to stress. The EPA has developed a two-tiered screening program for examining atypical fluctuations that certain chemicals may have on the endocrine system, called the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). For more information about the EDSP, click here

 

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