Sweden to sue EU for delay on hormone disrupting chemicals

Sweden on Thursday said it would sue the European Commission over a delay in identifying harmful chemicals in everyday products, which it blamed on chemical industry lobbying.

"This (delay) is due to the European chemical lobby, which put pressure again on different Commissioners," Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek told AFP.

The Commission was due to set criteria by December 2013 to identify (EDCs) in thousands of products—including disinfectants, pesticides and toiletries—which have been linked to cancers, and development disorders in children.

"Hormone disrupters are becoming a huge problem," said Ek, explaining that Sweden and Denmark had written to the Commission to demand action but to little avail.

"In some places in Sweden we see double-sexed fish. We have scientific reports on how this affects fertility of young boys and girls, and other serious effects."

European health and environment groups have also argued that the Commission has bowed to pressure from the industry, which is insisting on a consultation and more analysis before setting criteria, despite calls from scientists and the European Parliament for urgent action.

"What upsets me is that by doing this they are putting people and especially children at risk in a way that is not acceptable... By withholding the scientific criteria the Commission is stopping us from improving things," said Ek, adding that she hoped the public would put pressure on Brussels to act.

In May 2013, leading public health scientists from around the world presented a declaration to the Commission, demanding strict testing of the chemicals and rejecting the EU policy that low level exposure to the chemicals is safe.

Joe Hennon, spokesman for EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, said the delay was justified due to the "complexity of the issue, evolving science, and the diverging views existing among scientists and among stakeholders."

"We take the issue very seriously and are doing our best to address the issue," he said in an email to AFP, adding that temporary measures to protect public health were in place.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU issues framework for shale gas exploitation

Jan 22, 2014

The European Commission issued Wednesday recommendations to ensure that clear environmental safeguards are in place when the controversial technique of "fracking" is used to tap shale gas reserves.

EU plans more tests for horsemeat in food

Feb 14, 2014

The EU will carry out a second round of tests to see if horsemeat is being passed off as beef, after a scandal last year rocked public confidence in food safety standards.

Environmentalists pledge to stop Swedish wolf hunt

Dec 20, 2013

Swedish environmental groups on Friday vowed to block plans to cull wolves in controversial licensed hunts aimed at keeping their numbers down and potentially cutting the wolf population in half.

Recommended for you

Chile's Bachelet sends abortion bill to Congress

7 hours ago

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet on Saturday pressed ahead with plans to decriminalize abortion in certain cases, a decades-old taboo in one of Latin America's most socially conservative countries.

Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

Jan 30, 2015

Jamaica's Senate on Friday started debating a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the island where the drug ...

Can Lean Management improve hospitals?

Jan 30, 2015

Waiting times in hospital emergency departments could be cut with the introduction of Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques according to new research.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.