Endocrine disruptors (EDCs) are chemical substances that alter the functioning of the hormonal system and, as a consequence, negatively affect the health of humans and animals. With this Communication, the Commission is updating its approach on EDCs for the years to come, building on the increased knowledge, experience gained and results achieved in the twenty years since the adoption of the Community Strategy on endocrine disruptors.
The EU's strategic approach to endocrine disruptors will continue to be based firmly on science and on the application of the precautionary principle. It aims at:
- minimising our overall exposure to endocrine disruptors, paying particular attention to important life periods, such as pregnancy and puberty;
- accelerating the development of a thorough research basis for effective and forward-looking decision-making in the context of Horizon Europe, building on the existing research and paying particular attention to areas where knowledge gaps exist;
- promoting active dialogue allowing all stakeholders to be heard and to work together. In this context, the Commission will organise a Forum on endocrine disruptors on an annual basis and step up its support to the work of international organisations.
For the first time, the Commission will launch a comprehensive screening of the legislation applicable to endocrine disruptors through a Fitness Check that will build on the data already collected and analysed. Without putting into question the general science-based EU approach to the management of chemicals, the Fitness Check will involve an assessment of the current legislation on whether it delivers on the objectives of protecting human health and the environment. The Fitness Check will also include a public consultation.
The Communication also outlines initiatives currently considered by the Commission to ensure that the implementation of existing policies on endocrine disruptors reaches its full potential. This includes the identification of endocrine disruptors, improving communication throughout supply chains by using Safety Data Sheets as established under REACH, and taking forward the scientific assessment of endocrine disruptors with further regulatory action.