The vociferous reaction to the European Commission’s new regulatory definition of endocrine disruptors and proposed amendments to Plant Protection and Biocides legislation demonstrates both the strength of opinion and the range of perspectives in this controversial area.

The Commission’s approach to endocrine disruptors is closely based on that of the World Health Organisation. However, some NGOs claim it is even more restrictive in its application to adverse effects on human health as a consequence of an endocrine mode of action than the WHO approach.

Groups such as ChemTrust and ClientEarth claim that the Commission wording “known to cause adverse effects” sets the bar much too high, and would result in fewer pesticides and biocides being subject to controls.

The Commission has already asked the European Chemicals Agency and the European Food Safety Authority to consider whether existing pesticides and biocides meet its new criteria, but some groups are promising opposition in the European Parliament.

Businesses should keep a close eye on the legal challenges but in the meantime they must also address the new regulatory definition, and those who may be affected should be participating in the ECHA and EFSA reviews. Our chemicals and product stewardship specialists work closely with our food and farming colleagues to support clients in their submissions to such authorities.