The EU commission has claimed that there will be no lowering of food safety standards in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is currently being negotiated with the United States. However, an examination of the EU’s negotiating position shows that they are already offering changes which could lead to increased amounts of pesticide residues in food in the EU in the future.
On 24th March I took part in an event in Brussels, organised by EurActiv, discussing the relationship between the REACH chemicals regulations and the Circular Economy, in particular the interaction between REACH & recycling. The other panelists included representatives of the European Commission (both DG Environment and DG Growth), the plastic pipe industry and an MEP, Paul Rübig.
CHEM Trust have discovered that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have admitted that the abstract of January’s risk assessment of the commonly used hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A incorrectly stated that there was ‘no health concern’.
CHEM Trust wrote to the EU Health Commissioner on 25th February complaining about EFSA’s misrepresentation of the risk assessment and had a reply from DG Health dated 24th March. EFSA changed the text of the abstract on 25th March 2015, the next day. It seems highly likely that CHEM Trust’s letter triggered this change by EFSA.
CHEM Trust have written to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to ask them why they misrepresented the results of their risk assessment of the commonly used hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA). The risk assessment, published in January, concluded that there was a ‘low health concern’ from exposure to bisphenol A – yet the EFSA press release said there was ‘no health risk’, which does not mean the same thing. CHEM Trust has already written to the EU Health Commissioner on this matter, but his department referred us back to EFSA.
** Update: Since we sent the letter on 31st March, we have found that EFSA made corrections to the abstract of the BPA risk assessment on 25th March 2015 – see this blog post for details. **
New research, published today in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology, finds that exposure of mice to the widely-used hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy may raise a mother’s susceptibility to weight gain and diabetes later in life. As the press release for the study states:
The European Commissions DG Santé (Health) has now replied to a letter we sent to Commissioner Andriukaitis on 25th February, challenging the way in which the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) had communicated the results of an expert panel’s assessment of the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA).
New research, published today, finds that the costs across the EU of exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals could be over €150 billion annually in health care expenses and lost earning potential. Chemicals with hormone (or endocrine) disrupting properties (EDCs) are present in many everyday products and are frequently used as pesticides, but industry lobbying has delayed EU action to identify them and restrict their use.
The papers (overview, neurobehavioral, male reproduction and obesity & diabetes), published today in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism looked at a variety of health conditions that can partly be attributed to EDC exposure. These ranged from infertility and male reproductive dysfunction, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurobehavioural and learning disorders. The graphic below summarises the findings of the papers.
On 25th February we sent a letter to the EU’s Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, highlighting our concerns with the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) conclusions on Bisphenol A (BPA), and also asking what progress has been made in addressing the regulatory gaps in our protection from chemicals in food packaging.
Last week the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) held a conference on “Lessons learnt on Applications for Authorisation“. I couldn’t attend myself, but I did watch much of it on line – I’ve also spoken to people who were there. It ended up being a very positive event, which is good news as Authorisation is an important tool in creating a more sustainable society.