EU round up: EU releases endocrine disruptor guidance

16 August 2016

The European Union (EU) paint and coatings industry finally has to consider long overdue criteria released by the European Commission on determining which substances are endocrine disrupting (hormone changing) chemicals (EDCs) and, hence, fall under EU controls. Such substances could henceforth be banned under the EU’s biocidal product regulation (BPR).

EU health and food safety Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis released the criteria saying that the EU system was "the first worldwide to define such criteria in legislation”, noting that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) would be closely involved in assessments.

The criteria should have been released by the Commission by December 2013­ and its delay has already sparked a censure by the European Court of Justice’s General Court.

In its decision, the Commission chose policy option two of four, published in June 2014. This means Brussels will follow a 2002 definition proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO)­ that endocrine disruptors can be identified if they damage human health, affects hormones and tests can prove these links. This definition will now be integrated into the EU chemical controls. Some critics have argued that this definition is flawed because it fails to take account of dosage strengths and gives the Commission too much leeway to allow derogations for certain chemicals from controls. See

* Meanwhile, ECHA has decided that scientists need to take another look at acetaldehyde, used to make paint binders in alkyd paints, to decide whether it should be classified as mutagenic, carcinogenic or toxic to reproduction. For instance, said a note from the EU agency: "Regarding cancer, a number of studies look at the link between genetic polymorphism and alcohol-related cancer risk. However, no direct association was found between acetaldehyde and cancer in humans”. The chemical has been under assessment for special ECHA authorisation controls since last year (2015).

* And ECHA’s new REACH-IT system has been adapted to the IUCLID 6 format, meaning paint and coating companies and their suppliers must, in future, submit safety dossiers created with IUCLID 6. This new version is designed to be simpler and more intuitive, helping small- and medium-sized companies registering chemicals for the last REACH registration deadline of May 31, 2018. ECHA has also upgraded fact sheets and manuals explaining REACH-IT. See

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