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Parliament urges curbs on risks from hormone disruptors

The European Parliament is demanding tighter regulations on endocrine disruptors chemicals, which may affect the normal function of the body’s reproductive system and immune defences.

MEPs adopted a resolution on the matter with 489 votes in favour, 102 against, and 19 abstentions during the Parliament’s plenary session on 14 March in Strasbourg.

The Parliament calls for endocrine disruptors to be treated as substances of very high concern in the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) legislation. It also calls for better protection of vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and children, and for the introduction of tests that would identify chemicals as being endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors include the chemical bisphenol A, which is widely used in products including water bottles and food storage containers that contain plastics. Other examples include some pesticides, parabens used in lotions and shampoos, UV-filters used in sunscreens, and phthalates used in packaging and paints. All have been linked to a variety of negative health effects.

A report on the matter was written by Swedish MEP Åsa Westlund from the socialist and democrats group. “The EU’s legislation regulating chemicals is insufficient to determine whether a substance has endocrine-disrupting properties and lacks standard data requirements,” she said. “This is why we demand appropriate information and testing methods.”

The report started life as a non-binding initiative from the Parliament, but after its adoption it could now be used to push the European Commission to initiate changes in legislation. It says that current rules should be reviewed so that new or revised legislation, if necessary, can be proposed by June 2015.