OPINION

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 said.

The Commission was due to set criteria by December 2013 to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in thousands of products — including disinfectants, pesticides and toiletries — which have been linked to cancers, birth defects 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 chemical 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. — AFP