The gaps between science and legislation - a high-level panel discussion
Watch the full recording of ESE event on EDCs in the European Parliament “Shaping an ambitious legislative framework for endocrine disruptors: A high-level panel discussion on the gaps between science and legislation" held on 7 June 2023.
Further photos from the event can be seen here.
Video recordings from the event can be viewed on YouTube here. You can watch the full recording of the event (as shown above) or a short compilation plus interviews held with the two Members of the European Parliament hosting the event Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) and Martin Hojsík (Renew Europe, Slovakia), and a further interview held with Jérôme Bertherat, the newly elected ESE President.
Photos from the event can be viewed on the ESE Facebook page here.
With the terms of the current European Parliament and Commission slowly coming to an end there are significant concerns that the REACH revision will not be completed in time or that the revision will be rushed through, therefore not leading to the overhaul that is needed to bring the legislation in line with the latest scientific findings. If REACH is not addressed during this legislative term, this could endanger any real progress in EU chemicals legislation for years to come as it is impossible to predict what priorities the next European Commission, European Parliament and Council will have.
In addition to revising the overarching legislation, there are several ongoing consultations and political debates within the existing REACH framework around restriction of groups of chemicals including PFAS and Bisphenols. Banning or minimising the presence of these groups of chemicals could significantly contribute to reducing the onset of endocrine and other diseases.
The meeting brought together a broad variety of stakeholders to discuss the importance of an ambitious REACH revision while discussing progressing and remaining challenges in other areas including CLP, PFAS and Bisphenols. Leading European experts presented the latest available science and gave special attention to vulnerable groups in our society with a focus on women and children as the impact of endocrine disruptors on these two specific groups has not been sufficiently highlighted in the ongoing EU debate.
The panel discussion, moderated by Sue Saville, mainly centred around REACH and the difference a timely and ambitious revision could make for European public health. Among many other topics, the panel members discussed the position of the different EU institutions towards REACH and revisited a recent Petition as well as an Open Letter by ESE and its partners urging the European Commission to publish an ambitious proposal now. Initiatives by patient organisations and civil society in relation to REACH or other topics in the area of endocrine disruptors were also discussed in more detail.
14:00 – 14:05 Welcome remarks - MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland)
14:05 – 14:15 Keynote speech – MEP Maria Spyraki (EPP, Greece), EDC impact on Europe, the EPP perspective
14:15 – 14:40 State of the science: what do we know already?
- Paediatric perspective: Prof Dr Anders Juul (Rigshospitalet & University of Copenhagen)
- Adult perspective: Prof Dr Robin Peeters (Erasmus University)
14:40 – 15:25 Panel Discussion
Moderator: Ms Sue Saville
- Tatiana Santos (European Environment Bureau) – Working towards a toxic free environment for current and future generations
- MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen – The time to act on endocrine disruptors is now
- Dr Pauliina Damdimopoulou (Karolinska Institute) – Women and EDCs
- Prof Dr Anders Juul (Rigshospitalet & University of Copenhagen) – children and EDCs, what makes this group extra vulnerable?
- Jordane Wodli (Policy Officer, Unit Sustainable Chemicals (B2), European Commission) – The Commission’s view on addressing endocrine disruptors in the EU
15:25 – 15:30 Concluding remarks - MEP Martin Hojsík (Renew Europe, Slovakia)
15:30 – 16:30 – Cocktails and Networking
- ESE: The European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) provides a platform to develop and share leading research and best knowledge in endocrine science and medicine. By uniting and representing every part of the endocrine community, we are best placed to improve the lives of patients. Through the 51 National Societies involved with the ESE Council of Affiliated Societies (ECAS) ESE represents a community of over 20,000 European endocrinologists. We inform policy makers on health decisions at the highest level through advocacy efforts across Europe.
- Endocrine Society: Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest, and most active organization dedicated to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Our global membership of over 18,000 includes expert researchers advancing our understanding of interference with hormonal systems by manufactured chemicals, called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
- ESPE: The European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) is an international society based in Europe that promotes the highest levels of clinical care for infants, children and adolescents with endocrine problems throughout the world, including in less advantaged areas. Our mission is to advance excellence in paediatric endocrinology and diabetes by promoting research, education and medical practice to the benefit of child and adolescent health throughout the world.
- ETA: The European Thyroid Association (ETA) is a scientific organization, which aims to promote clinical and basic research and raise the standards of understanding and clinical practice in thyroid disease. The Association was founded in 1965 and has met each year since then, with the exception of the years in which the International Thyroid Congress has been held. The Annual Scientific Meeting regularly attracts more than 350 abstracts and over 900 active participants. Membership of the Association consists of honorary, ordinary, junior, corporate, corresponding and emeritus. There are over 800 members
MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen
Ms. Sirpa Pietikäinen is a Finnish member of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. She is a former Finnish Minister of Environment (1991-1995). Her career at the Finnish parliament is extensive, ranging from the year 1983 to 2003. At the European Parliament, Ms. Pietikäinen is a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and of the Women’s Right and Gender Equality Committee as well as a substitute member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. She is active in several organizations. Her positions of trust include Chairmanship of the Globe EU and membership in board of Alzheimer Europe. A graduate from the Helsinki School of Economics, Ms. Pietikäinen has MSc (Business), and still teaches university courses on negotiations theory and practices.”
MEP Martin Hojsík
Martin Hojsík has been actively involved in nature protection for over 25 years. Since 2019, he serves as a Member of the European Parliament, working to avert the climate threat, regulate hazardous chemicals, protect biodiversity, animals and promote safe and wholesome food. He serves as the official contact point for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and is active in three committees - ENVI, ITRE and BUDG. In the past, he served as Program Director of the animal protection organization Four Paws, working in global corporate and public policy campaigns for Action Aid, Greenpeace International and communication campaigns for Greenpeace national offices. He studied genetics at the Comenius University in Bratislava.
MEP Maria Spyraki
Maria Spyraki is a Greek MEP for the NeaDemokratia Party, part of the European People’s Party (EPP). She was re-elected to the European Parliament in 2019, having firstly been elected in 2014. Spyraki is the shadow rapporteur on behalf of the EPP on several legislative initiatives including: the “Energy Storage” report, the Public Loan Facility in the Just Transition Mechanism and the Proposal for a Regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries, both for the Committee on Industry, Research and Technology (ITRE). During her second mandate, she has been also the rapporteur on the Classificationthe Motion for Resolution on Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and on the Methane Strategy file on behalf of the European Parliament for the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). Currently she is the rapporteur within the same committee for the revised Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals She holds an MSc in energy law, Business and policy from the International Hellenic University in Thessaloniki.
Prof Anders Juul
Anders Juul is clinical professor at the university of Copenhagen, and head of department of growth and reproduction at Rigshospitalet (paediatric endocrinology and andrology), Copenhagen, Denmark. He is trained as paediatric endocrinologist and EAA-certified andrologist. He is leader of research center EDMaRC (Endocrine Disruption of Male Reproduction and Child Health), and of the PhD programme “Life cycle in Medicine” at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, His research interests include growth and pubertal disorders as well as genetic, epigenetic and environmental influences on gonadal and adrenal function throughout life. He has published more than 600 scientific papers (H index 80, web of science) and supervised more than 35 PhD students. In 2015 he received the prestigious ESPE Research Award.
Prof Robin Peeters
Professor Robin Peeters is head of the Department of Internal Medicine at Erasmus MC, The Netherlands, President of the Dutch Society for Internal Medicine and former member of the Executive Committee Member of the European Society of Endocrinology. His main research interests involve the importance of thyroid hormone for normal development and healthy aging, and the detrimental consequences of disturbed thyroid homeostasis due to disease of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Dr. Peeters has published more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has received several prestigious awards for his research.
Ms Tatiana Santos
Tatiana Santos is the Head of Chemicals Policy at the European Environmental Bureau (the EEB), Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens' organisations with its over 180 members from 40 countries. Tatiana and her team work to improve EU chemicals legislation, including REACH, so that they provide higher levels of protection and help the world advance towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Europe’s aim for a toxic-free environment. Tatiana holds a Chemistry degree specialised on food and analytical chemistry and have two MSc. in Environmental Impact Assessment and in Occupational Health & Safety. She has been working in chemical risk issues, chemical legislations, occupational health and safety, chemicals in the circular economy and substitution of hazardous chemicals for 20 years. Currently, on behalf of the EEB, she is an accredited stakeholder representing the environmental voice of European citizens at the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency, the OECD and the UN.
Dr Pauliina Damdimopoulou
Pauliina Damdimopoulou is an Associated Professor in Reproductive and Perinatal Toxicology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a docent in toxicology and leads a research group “Chemicals and female fertility”. Dr. Damdimopoulou received her PhD in 2008 from the University of Turku, Finland, where she studied the effects of dietary polyphenols and estrogen signaling. Dr. Damdimopoulou is the co-coordinator of Sveafertil, the national fertility preservation study for girls and young women in Sweden, and an academic co-leader of the WISE (women in science and education) network at Karolinska Institutet. She is also a partner and work package leader in two ongoing EU projects that focus on the impact of toxic exposures on fertility in women, and she coordinates the international Pandora study on combination effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on fertility in women.
Now is already too late – The European and international endocrine community calls for immediate action on chemicals legislation as the only way forward to address Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
Read the full press release here.