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HARMFUL SUBSTANCES

In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) pose a threat to global health. With our programme Harmful substances, we aimed to raise awareness about this issue and advocated the protection of the health of Dutch and European citizens by banning these chemicals from our daily lives and environment. The programme has been successfully concluded as of January 2019.

During the programme (2013-2018), Wemos engaged with national and EU policymakers and politicians, advocating progressive measures to protect human health. In an alarming report on chemicals that affect our hormones, WHO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned against exposure to EDCs as research has linked them to hormone-related conditions, like fertility problems and certain cancers.

National plans

Exposure to these harmful chemicals calls for action on a global scale and protective policies on national, European and international level. Countries like Denmark, Sweden and France have adopted national plans to protect their population from exposure to EDCs. Throughout the programme we have influenced the development of criteria for endocrine disruptors and the development of a European strategy.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals pose a threat to global health

Results of our work for an EDC-free environment

Since the start of the programme in 2013, we succeeded in the following:

  • We put the issue of EDCs on the Dutch political agenda.
  • We published a proposal for a national plan for EDCs, which we handed in as a petition to Dutch Members of Parliament in September 2018.
  • Thanks to our lobby, the Dutch government adopted two resolutions in 2017: one on providing public information on the effects of EDCs on pregnant women, and another one on a ban on Bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials.
  • We worked closely with Members of European Parliament by organizing events to inform them and push them to take more protective measures. Thanks to our collaboration with the European network HEAL (Health and Environment Alliance), in 2017 the European Parliament successfully objected to the European Commission’s criteria for identifying these chemicals.
  • Together with two medical doctors and a toxicologist, we called upon Dutch doctors to push for the use of safe medical instruments – free of EDCs – in the Dutch medical journal Medisch Contact.
  • In the Dutch magazine ‘OneWorld’, we completed a series on global health issues, answering questions from readers and raising awareness about the topic among a broader audience. One edition focused on EDCs.
  • In 2016, we published a factsheet on ‘Endocrine-disrupting chemicals’ (in Dutch). In collaboration with Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) and the Pesticide Action Network we developed a report on possible policy measures against EDCs.

On national television and radio

We drew widespread attention to the topic among a wider audience by gaining national and international media attention for EDCs. In 2016, the tv programme Radar broadcasted two episodes on our tests on the presence of Bisphenol A in food contact materials and in the urine of Dutch Members of European Parliament (both episodes in Dutch).

 

Have a look at and listen to other videoclips and radio fragments (in Dutch).

Our highlights of 2018

The start of the new year calls for some reflection. This is why we have compiled an overview of our highlights of 2018. We are proud of the results of our work for health for all. Have a look! 2018 was a year of new collaborations, media attention, joint letters, political support and enlarging our [...]

Countries push EU Commission for initiatives on chemicals and circular economy

In a letter to the European Commission, ten EU Member States have raised their concerns about current delays in delivering commitments to manage chemicals – including the non-toxic environment strategy and the EDC strategy. Wemos applauds this. Ministers from Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia and Sweden have expressed their concerns. [...]

European Commission’s roadmap on endocrine-disrupting chemicals is not far-reaching enough

In a reaction to the European Commission’s roadmap on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, Wemos calls on the Commission to design a comprehensive strategy that minimizes and eventually ends the exposure of European citizens to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). While we applaud that the Commission aims to better regulate EDCs, we are concerned because the proposed plans do not [...]

wemos team 2018

Wemos in 2017: Our annual overview

For nearly 40 years we have been committed to advocate the right to health for everyone worldwide. This did not change in 2017. We are proud to present our new annual overview of 2017. We are fully dedicated to contributing to structural improvements in global health policy. We are therefore excited to share with you [...]

No ban on BPA in food contact materials

There will be no European ban on the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA). The European Parliament has voted that BPA will remain in food contact materials. Wemos regrets that European citizens will therefore remain exposed to this harmful substance. The European Parliament has accepted the European Commission’s proposal to merely lower the migration limit of [...]

European Parliament rejects criteria endocrine-disrupting chemicals

The European Parliament has rejected the European Commission’s proposed criteria for identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These criteria, in their current form, would not sufficiently protect our health. The European Commission will therefore have to go back to the drawing board. Wemos applauds the Parliament’s decision, as this is another step closer towards protecting our health and [...]

EU criteria for endocrine-disrupting chemicals will not protect health

The European Commission’s proposed criteria for identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals should be amended, as they will not protect the health of European citizens. In a letter to European Members of Parliament, Wemos and two other organizations call upon the members to reject the current criteria. On September 28th, the Commission ENVI of the European Parliament voted [...]

Precautionary principle should be applied to chemicals

At the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Wemos delivered a statement on the roadmap on chemical management in collaboration with Medicus Mundi International and the People’s Health Movement. This is an important moment because the international community is about to adopt this roadmap. The new roadmap is designed to guide countries on managing hazardous [...]

ADHD and lower IQ likely associated with household chemicals

Chemicals in food contact materials and other widely used consumer products can harm brain development in children. This is the conclusion of a new report of the British organization CHEM Trust which is published today. Wemos publishes the report in the Netherlands. The report ‘No Brainer – The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development: [...]

Everybody is exposed to EDCs

Together with the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of the VU University Amsterdam, Wemos studied urine samples of four Dutch politicians to determine whether they had been exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) BPA and phthalates. In the Dutch TV programme Radar, Wemos' global health advocate Annelies den Boer showed them the results of the [...]

Annelies in 1000 Days of Plastic

Elisa Veini & Pearl Heinemans   Annelies den Boer, global health advocate at Wemos, was TV producer Bahram Sadeghi’s first guest in his online program about plastic waste. Literally standing amid all of Sadeghi’s plastic waste, Annelies explained why some plastic items do our health more harm than good. Annelies: ‘What concerns us in particular [...]

Remove chemicals from TTIP

Today, Wemos and over 65 public interest organizations sent a letter to the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, expressing our concerns about the inclusion of chemical legislation in the proposed EU-US trade agreement TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). We are concerned that the European Commission continues to ignore critical aspects of the [...]