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01/09/2016

Sweden to sue Commission over delays to rules on chemicals

Climate & Environment

Sweden to sue Commission over delays to rules on chemicals

REACH chemicals protective suit.

[Shutterstock]

Sweden will sue the European Commission to force it to speed up work on identifying and banning chemicals some researchers say may disrupt human hormones and cause disease, the environment minister said on Thursday (22 May).

Lena Ek said the Commission was supposed to have drawn criteria for testing for suspected endocrine disruptors, found in everything from food and cleaning products to plastic containers.

But officials had failed to provide that information by a December 2013 deadline and her government would take the case to the European Court of Justice, she added.

“We have decided to sue the Commission because we want the court to force the Commission to deliver the scientific criteria so we can start moving toward a poison-free society,” Ek told Reuters.

A spokesman for the European Commission said it was aware of Sweden’s concerns about endocrine disruptors. “We take the issue very seriously and are doing our best to address it,” he said.

He said the Commission was trying to establish which criteria it should use to judge their impact on the environment and that their use in plant protection, for example, was already regulated.

>> Read our LinksDossier: Endocrine disruptors: Harmful or not?

Background

Rising levels of cancers and fertility problems have attracted scientists’ attention to endocrine disrupting chemicals, with some calling for strict regulation of the substances, in line with the precautionary principle.

Others meanwhile, stress the worthiness of those chemicals in everyday products such as plastics and warn that the foundations of science risk being turned upside down if precautionary measures are taken.

>> Read our LinksDossier: Endocrine disruptors: Harmful or not?

Further Reading