A debate in the European Union (EU) could impact how pesticides are used in the U.S. The debate centers on “endocrine disruptors,” which are a broad class of chemicals that are characterized by their ability to interfere with naturally occurring hormones. Endocrine disruptors, which are found in some pesticides, have been linked to a number of health concerns.
In 2011, due to growing concern, the European Union decided to restrict the use of pesticides that act as endocrine disruptors. But that legislation cannot be fully implemented until members of the European Commission can agree on an official definition of “endocrine disrupting chemicals.” That decision is now overdue.
Once in place, these would be the first such regulations anywhere in the world. And given the global market for pesticides—and agricultural products—what happens in Europe will have important implications in the U.S. and beyond.