CRIN joins EDC-Free Europe campaign
19 August 2019 - CRIN has joined the EDC-Free Europe coalition representing more than 70 environmental, health, women’s and consumer groups across Europe, all sharing the same concern about hormone disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and their impact on human health and the environment. In the past couple of years, CRIN has increasingly worked on the impacts of toxic chemicals on children’s rights and joining the campaign will allow us to work alongside expert organisations on this issue and contribute the children’s rights perspective.
EDCs, also known as hormone disruptors, are chemicals that interfere with the natural hormones in our bodies. They have been linked to cancers, fertility problems, obesity, and many more serious health disorders. We are all exposed to EDCs in our daily lives, from bisphenols used in certain plastic bottles, phthalates in toys and flame retardants used in sofas, to the pesticides which end up in our food and the antimicrobial biocides found in cleaning products. But despite growing evidence that exposure to EDCs is contributing to a range of health problems, most governments have been slow in regulating and eliminating this exposure. The exception so far have been Denmark, Belgium, France and Sweden, which have put together action plans.
While all humans are vulnerable to the effects of exposure to toxics, children are the worst affected population group because of their smaller bodies, rapid growth and particular behavioural habits. The time during development in the womb and during early childhood has been found to be a particularly sensitive window of exposure and has raised serious concerns among health professionals. From a human rights perspective, childhood exposure to toxics affects a wide range of children’s rights, from their right to health and a healthy environment, to the right to education and play, and, in cases of death, to the right to life and survival.
There is therefore an urgent need to reduce people’s exposure to EDCs, especially children’s. EDC-Free Europe aims to raise awareness and urge faster governmental action on EDCs that are toxic to our health. Together with the other partner organisations, we believe this will drive innovation for safer chemicals and products, which will in turn create a healthier future for all. The coalition is calling in particular for a comprehensive European Strategy (see the ‘Eight Demands’ below) for endocrine disruptors that effectively prevents further impacts on health and on the environment associated with EDCs, including through increased control on the use of EDCs. The European plan of action should be aiming for a high level of protection for human health, especially vulnerable groups, and the environment, setting out legal actions for eliminating exposure.
To learn more about the EDC-Free Europe campaign, read the coalition’s Eight Demands for a European EDC strategy.