The farming industry could be set to lose numerous pesticides and herbicides after the European Parliament voted to deny the Commission’s definition of endocrine disruptors.
The European Parliament blocked an EU Commission proposal which would have exempted some chemicals in pesticides from being identified as endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormone) systems at certain doses. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
MEPs say that the Commission exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt substances which are designed to attack an organism’s endocrine system, e.g. in pests, from the identification criteria.
The objection was approved by 389 votes to 235, with 70 abstentions, producing the absolute majority needed to block the proposal.
The European Commission will therefore have to draft a new version of the text, taking into account Parliament’s input.
EU legislation requires that pesticides or biocide substances have no endocrine-disrupting effects on other species than the ones targeted.
To apply this legislation, the EU needs a list of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors.
The European Court of Justice ruled in December 2015 that the EU Commission had breached EU law by failing to publish criteria for determining endocrine disrupters due at the end of 2013.
Some MEPs have repeatedly urged the EU to clamp down on the substances.
The farming industry has reacted with worry. UK farming unions have stressed the need for a risk based science-led approach to regulating endocrine disruptors, warning farmers could be seriously undermined, and leaving them with fewer options to tackle pests and diseases.