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Organic Consumers Association

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Endocrine Disruptors: The Interference of the United States

The United States does not hide it. In some cases, they would like to write European law instead of leaving it to Europe. Among the cases: endocrine disruptors, these chemicals that are present in our everyday environment and capable of hijacking the hormonal system of living beings.

Since 2009, the European Commission has been working on the issue of their regulation. The topic is all the more sensitive as this regulation will be unprecedented, imposing new standards for the rest of the world. All trading partners who want to continue exporting their products to the EU, including the United States, will have to comply with them.

In highly technical documents, the American government expresses its position with unreserved criticism and requests that verge on political interference. Of particular note is this text, conveyed to the Commission on January 16, 2015, within the framework of a consultation on the various regulatory options envisaged. It says: "If the Commission were to be provided with evidence supporting an option not among (those) presented, would this be considered?”

The question is convoluted but the implication is clear: the United States does not only propose rewriting the law but disputes the very principle of the regulation as far as endocrine disruptors are concerned.

The origin of the tension is the European regulation on pesticides of 2009. Very strict, it foresees a ban on pesticides that have endocrine disrupting properties. This principle of "hazard assessment" a priori antagonizes the U.S. government. "Implementation of any hazard-based ‘cut off’ option," it writes, “could have severe implications for EU imports of U.S. agricultural goods." Contrary to the political will of Europe, the U.S. government calls for a return to the traditional philosophy of "risk assessment," which is undertaken a posteriori.

 

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