EU Commission plans EDC hazard classes within CLP


European Commission announces plan to create new hazard classes for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) within the EU’s Classification, Labeling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation; industry stakeholders criticize decision, call for addressing EDCs via REACH Regulation; civil society groups welcome change; further discussion planned for February 2021.

On December 17-18, 2020, the European Commission (EC) held its second Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors as an online event. Featuring speakers from across the EC’s agencies as well as from national authorities, the OECD, and academic researchers, the forum focused on providing an update on the EC’s work to identify and regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). It featured presentations on testing methods, human biomonitoring, the EU’s completed fitness check of its legislation on EDCs (FPF reported), as well as the recently released chemicals strategy for sustainability that specifically aims to address EDCs in food contact materials (FCMs) (FPF reported).

One plan presented by the EC during the event that has received significant attention is to create a new set of hazard classes for EDCs under the EU’s Classification, Labeling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation (EC 1272/2008). News provider Chemical Watch reports that the treatment of EDCs under the CLP regulation would then mirror that of carcinogens, mutagens, and reprotoxicants (CMRs) regarding the resulting classifications. Separate classes would be introduced for human and environmental health. Cristina de Avila from the EC’s DG Environment announced that this decision has been made and “the direction is set.”

However, this came as a surprise to industry stakeholders that were quick to criticize the plan. Blanca Serrano from chemical industry association Cefic commented that her organization was “under the impression that the discussion was still ongoing” and called for a “legal assessment” of the presented plan. Industry stakeholders have also argued that while they are supportive of implementing criteria to identify EDCs, this would be better accomplished within the existing REACH regulation rather than creating new hazard classes within the CLP Regulation. Exactly how to better implement EDCs within REACH has been an ongoing debate among stakeholders within the Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP sub-group on EDs (CASG-ED).

In contrast, civil society organizations have welcomed the plan to introduce the hazard classes under CLP. Natacha Cingotti from the EDC-free Europe coalition and Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) said that her organization is “particularly pleased with the plan to introduce hazard classes.” ClientEarth has argued that all sectoral legislation is based on the identification of chemical hazards, which is done explicitly within the CLP regulation.

While DG Environment has reaffirmed that “the political will of the Commission is clear,” stakeholders will have a formal opportunity to discuss the issue during the next scheduled meeting of the CASG-ED in February 2021.

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Food Packagning Forum, 5 January 2021