The Environment Council, composed of the environment ministers of all EU countries, has called for the European Commission to consider the cumulative (or “cocktail”) effect of exposure to multiple chemicals when developing chemicals policy and risk management strategies. In particular, the Environment Council highlighted exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals as a source of particular concern in the effort to protect public health and the environment. These conclusions reflect a growing scientific concern, which includes a biomonitoring report released by Denmark that was discussed at the October 2009 Environmental Council meeting and a 2008 report by the US National Academy of Sciences calling for assessing the cumulative risk of phthalates in particular.
A coalition of environment and health NGOs, which include HEAL, recognize this as an important step, but have called for urgent policy action to minimize these exposures through amending existing legislation (especially REACH) and promoting substitution of harmful chemicals with safer alternatives, on the EU, member state, and individual company levels.
For more information:
— The Council report
— Environment and health NGO coalition press release
— HEAL - CHEM Trust materials on the cocktail effect of endocrine disrupting chemicals and breast cancer
Written on 20 January 2010.