EU endocrine disruptor criteria for biocides: A legal perspective


*Corresponding author
Steptoe & Johnson LLP, 489 Avenue Louise, Brussels, Belgio


The adoption of criteria for endocrine disruptors marks the most recent phase in 20 years of scientific and policy debates in the EU. With the adoption of criteria to identify these substances a new set of legal issues arise relating to their application in concrete situations.


The European Union has focused its attention on substances suspected of interfering with hormone systems - endocrine disrupters - for almost two decades. The European Commission Communication on a “Community Strategy for Endocrine Disrupters”(1) identified Directive 98/8/EC on Biocidal Products (2) (the BPD) as one instrument, among others, through which it could be possible to address substances included on an EU Endocrine Disruptor priority list (3).

Under the BPD, as part of the assessment of “effects on the environment” of formulated biocidal products (Annex VI), even when a biocidal product was not classified (following appropriate hazard identification tests), risk characterisation was still required in relation to “other reasonable grounds for concern”. Such grounds could derive “from the properties and effects of any active substance or substance of concern in the biocidal product, in particular (…) endocrine effects” (para. 38, Annex VI) (4).

During the operation of the BPD, no active substance decision expli ...