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Monday 26 September 2016

Commission to table proposals on phasing out hormone disruptors

Published 15/06/2016 | 02:30

Nessa Childers
Nessa Childers

Glyphosate isn't the only pesticides battle the EU is fighting.

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On Wednesday the European Commission will come forward with long-awaited rules to help identify hormone-disrupting properties in pesticides and other chemicals, and eventually phase them out.

The United Nations and World Health Organization consider the issue a "global threat" as hormone disruptors are linked to infertility, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

The EU executive should have come up with the new rules by 2013, and was pulled up by the bloc's highest court last year for failing to do so.

The EU has laws in place to phase out endocrine disruptors in water, industrial chemicals, plant protection products and biocides, but needs to come up with specific scientific criteria to define what they are.

In a report last Wednesday, which passed by 593 votes to 57 with 19 abstentions, MEPs blasted the Commission's "persistent failure" to publish the new rules, which they say were ready in 2013 but were put on ice following intensive lobbying by the chemicals industry.

Nessa Childers, an independent MEP for Dublin (pictured below), said the Commission's "choice to listen to the pesticides industry has since led to years of temporising and obfuscation".

"These substances are hazardous to human health at extremely low levels, and are thus unsafe at any measurable threshold," Ms Childers said.

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to take the Commission to task over the issue.

"Fine Gael are quick enough to come out and use EU law as a defence when it suits them, but here we have a clear cut case of the European Commission failing to protect the health of Irish citizens and the silence from Fine Gael health minister is deafening," she said.

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