Selection of plastic food packaging.
6 July 2017

Endocrine disruptors: national measures following the adoption of a European definition

EU Member States have recently adopted a definition of endocrine disruptors used in pesticides. At the same time, the European Commission has made commitments to accelerate its policy for tackling these chemical substances which interfere with hormone systems. In order to best protect the health of French people, the Government will take additional national measures.
On Tuesday 4 July, EU Member States adopted the criteria for defining endocrine disruptors used in pesticides. This vote brings to an end four years of delay in banning these dangerous substances. Compared with the first draft put forward by the Commission in June 2016, the definition adopted also concerns suspected endocrine disruptors. This is an important step forward for health and for the environment.
In recent weeks, the Government has been strongly committed to reinforcing the ambition of the measures, and it acknowledges additional guarantees obtained by the European Commission:
  • the immediate application of the new criteria to substances that are currently being re-evaluated at Community level,
  • the launch of a European strategy which takes account of all possible exposures, especially in toys, cosmetics and food packaging,
  • the mobilisation of a further 50 million euros for research into the effects of endocrine disruptors from 2018,
  • the swift submission of an assessment of the effectiveness of these criteria and the impact of the exemptions introduced.

New measures taken by France

France has decided to take national measures as of now, taking into account the exemption of certain substances that act as endocrine disruptors.
The Government will use the procedure established under European law which allows it, based on scientific and technical analyses conducted at national level, to ban products containing these substances from being placed on the French market.

It will refer to ANSES (the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) to carry out a risk assessment of the most widely used products containing these substances. Those reports will be followed by joint work with manufacturers, farmers and civil society to gauge what decision is to be taken and, if appropriate, lead the State to ban certain products at national level.

Strongly committed to reducing the exposure and risks of endocrine disruptors to people and the environment, the Government is also taking steps to:
  • improve the transparency of plant protection and biocidal products placed on the French market that contain endocrine disruptors,
  • provide better consumer information and increase resources for research on endocrine disruptors and their substitution.