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Health Risks Of June 10th EU Parliament Vote

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 10th EU/US Trade Deal Vote In European Parliament Will Damage Health By Permitting Dangerous Hormone Disrupting Chemicals (EDCS) To Be Used In EU

EDC's are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system in animals, including humans and disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and development disorders says GMB.

GMB today ( 3rd June ) warned that a vote in the European Parliament on Wednesday June 10th on the proposed EU/US trade deal will open the door to a range of chemicals linked to infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurobehavioral and learning disorders to be used across the EU.

Research by experts found that these were among the conditions than can be attributed in part to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). See notes to editors for copy of press release of March 2015 from the Endocrine Society on the dangers of EDCs to consumers.

On June 10th MEPs will vote on a report on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being negotiated by the European Union and the United States  to promote more trade. The report allows for a “downward harmonization of standards” for chemicals such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) which are not banned in the US opening the door for them to be used in the EU.

Some of the chemicals are:

· Flame retardants (PBDEs): These have been restricted in the EU for many uses in recent years, but exposure continues due to their persistent and bioaccumulative properties.

· Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used extensively, for example in food can linings and in till receipts.

· Phthalates including DEHP, which is used in PVC.

John Mc Clean, GMB National Health and Safety Officer, said  “We elect MEPs to protect us not to open up the EU market to chemicals that are banned here.

EDC's are chemicals, which in certain doses, can interfere with the hormone system in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and development disorders. They are found in many household and industrial products- in drugs, pesticides, compounds found in plastics and industrial by-products and pollutants.

As might be expected, as some of the experiments on exposure have been done on animals, scientists are divided on the effects on humans and some have called for longer studies into the effects of EDC's.

On regulatory standards and co-operation GMB sees the threat to regulatory standards as one of the major concerns of this TTIP agreement that presents risks not just to our members, but people across the EU.

We are worried that important issue like the use of EDC has been buried by the controversial nature of other priority issues. It is just as important.

The US made clear from earliest stage of negotiations that they were not prepared to sign up to the whole REACH (EU Chemical standards) package. This includes a range of regulations on paints, aiming dyes, sprays, cleaning products, garden/agricultural products – the range is vast. This includes cosmetics which are the subject of specific EU laws as well. These regulations are to protect workers, consumers as well as the environment and animals.

GMB was dismayed to see that, in the final wording of CAM 32 report to  Parliament on this issue, the vital wording “to reject any downward harmonization of standards as well as the mutual recognition of non-equivalent standards” was removed. Furthermore, the final sentence highlighting the risk of regulatory chill effect was also removed. We want this wording restored."


Contact: Bert Schouwenburg 07974 251 764 or Kathleen Walker Shaw 07841 181 549 or John McClean GMB 07710 631 329 or Dan Shears 07918 767781  or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880.

Notes to editors:

Press release dated March 2015 from the Endocrine Society.

Chemicals contribute to health conditions including lowered IQ, male infertility, diabetes, obesity

SAN DIEGO, CA and BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - A new economic analysis found exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to a new series of studies published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The authors presented the findings today at simultaneous press events at ENDO 2015, the Endocrine Society’s 97th Annual Meeting & Expo, and in Brussels, Belgium.

Global experts in this field concluded that infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurobehavioral and learning disorders were among the conditions than can be attributed in part to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The €157 billion estimate is conservative, and represents 1.23 percent of Europe’s gross domestic product (GDP). These costs may actually be as high as €270 billion ($359 billion), or 2% of GDP.

“The analysis demonstrates just how staggering the cost of widespread endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure is to society,” said Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine & Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, who led a team of eighteen researchers across eight countries in this landmark initiative. “This research crystalizes more than three decades of lab and population-based studies of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the EU.”

EDCs mimic, block or interfere with the body’s hormones. EDCs include bisphenol A (BPA) found in till receipts and food can linings, certain phthalates found in plastic products and cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides such as chlorpyrifos. Nearly 100 percent of people have detectable amounts of EDCs in their bodies, according to the introductory guide to EDCs published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN.

To assess the economic burden of EDC exposure, a group of scientists convened a panel of global EDC experts to adapt existing environmental health cost models, relying on the Institute of Medicine’s 1981 approach of assessing the contribution of environment factors in causing illness, to calculate the estimated cost burden of EDCs. Based on the body of established literature, the researchers evaluated the likelihood that EDCs contributed to various medical conditions and dysfunctions but limited the analysis to the disorders with the strongest scientific evidence.

The analysis included direct costs of hospital stays, physician services, nursing home care and other medical costs. The researchers also calculated estimates of indirect costs such as lost worker productivity, early death and disability.

“Although this analysis was limited to the European Union, the disease and cost burden of exposure is likely to be on the same order of magnitude in the United States and elsewhere in the world,” Trasande said.

In the EU, researchers found the biggest cost driver was loss of IQ and intellectual disabilities caused by prenatal exposure to pesticides containing organophosphates. The study estimated the harm done to unborn children costs society between €46.8 billion and €195 billion a year. About 13 million lost IQ points and 59,300 additional cases of intellectual disability per year can be attributed to organophosphate exposure.

Adult obesity linked to phthalate exposure generated the second-highest total, with estimated costs of €15.6 billion a year.

“Our findings show that limiting exposure to the most common and hazardous endocrine-disrupting chemicals is likely to yield significant economic benefits,” said one of the study’s authors, Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and Adjunct Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “This approach has the potential to inform decision-making in the environmental health arena. We are hoping to bring the latest endocrine science to the attention of policymakers as they weigh how to regulate these toxic chemicals.”

Other authors of the studies include: R. Thomas Zoeller of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA; Ulla Hass of the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark in Søborg, Denmark; Andreas Kortenkamp of Brunel University in Uxbridge, Middlesex, United Kingdom; John Peterson Myers of Environmental Health Services in Charlottesville, VA; Joseph DiGangi of IPEN in Gothenburg, Sweden; Martine Bellanger of EHESP School of Public Health in Paris, France; Russ Hauser of T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA; Juliette Legler of VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Niels Skakkebaek, Anna Maria Andersson and Anders Juul of Rigshospitalet, EDMaRC and University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark; Jerrold J. Heindel of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC; Tony Fletcher of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK; Eva Govarts of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) in Mol, Belgium; Miquel Porta of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Hospital del Mar Institute of Medical Research and CIBERESP in Barcelona, Spain; Bruce Blumberg of the University of California, Irvine; Jorma Toppari of the University of Turku in Turku, Finland; and Barbara Demeneix of the National Center for Scientific Research (CRNS) at Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris in Paris, France.

The studies are:

“Estimating Burden and Disease Costs of Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union”

“Male Reproductive Disorders, Diseases and Costs of Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union”

“Obesity, Diabetes and Associated Costs of Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union”

“Neurobehavioral Deficits, Diseases and Associated Costs of Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union”

The studies were published online, ahead of print.


Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, the Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 18,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Washington, DC. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on Twitter at!/EndoMedia.

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