European Commission Takes Questionable Approach to Endocrine Disruptor Criteria

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the European Commission (Commission) released draft documents establishing specific criteria for identifying so-called endocrine disruptors. Once again, European authorities have left behind sound scientific principals in favor of the notion of “precaution.” This action ignores other endocrine policy programs and well-researched and verifiable data available from governmental peers worldwide. This proposal by the Commission builds on policies in other regulatory categories that are based on hazard-only assessment, with little to no consideration of exposure to any chemical. The weight of the significant body of scientific data addressing endocrine disruptors does not show that crop protection products are associated with human disease, including studies on endocrine-related conditions.

In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) follows a risk based approach, with due consideration of benefit, to the regulation of pesticides, including the assessment of any potential endocrine disruption effects.  The EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) is the most advanced program in the world for identifying and regulating endocrine disruptors.  Almost one year ago, EPA released its Tier One assessments through the EDSP, highlighting EPA’s approach to following a risk-based approach that considers human exposure. CLA and its members applaud EPA’s rigorous testing and science-based regulation of crop protection products that contribute to the protection of public health and the environment.  We must continue to support this approach and ensure that growers have access to increasingly effective and valuable crop protection products.

“The US’s risk-based approach to crop protection products is founded in strong science, ensuring farmers have access to the most advanced tools and technology, while protecting human and environmental health,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “It is unfortunate that European farmers may no longer have access to much-needed crop protection products, and that US producers could be subject to import restrictions on crops and commodities grown using these important tools.”

Twenty years ago, the US was the first and only nation in the world to pass endocrine disruptor provisions in pesticide and drinking water legislation, and followed this action with millions of dollars of public and private investment implementing these policies.  In the European Union, the Commission has taken a hazard-based approach, taking into account only the intrinsic properties of a chemical without consideration of potency, exposure, or beneficial effects.  CLA and its members continue to support a risk-based approach to the regulation of crop protection products and to oppose precautionary, hazard-based regulation of these products.

Michael Leary