Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Protection of public health from endocrine disrupters

Delivered in Plenary - 14th March 2013

Mr President

we all strive to protect our constituents from undue harm when possible. Health risks certainly fall within this remit.

When addressing these risks, it is our duty to assess them logically and react according to the seriousness of the risk. This report on endocrine disrupters would apply drastic precautions that are disproportionate to the reality of the known science on the subject.

How can we take action against substances that are not yet even scientifically defined, or detected in sufficient quantities in our food chains? The report contradicts itself, admitting that scientific knowledge of the risk of endocrine disrupters is currently limited, but claiming that all endocrine-disrupting chemicals have adverse effects, even at the very lowest of exposures.

While prevention is of the utmost importance when it comes to matters of health, such measures must be proportionate and based on science. The precautions prescribed by this report are neither, and are, I fear, a great overreaction to a still unclear threat.

While we must be vigilant and continue to explore the role of endocrine disrupters on health, we must do so pragmatically and responsibly. We must also think of the economic consequences of reacting disproportionately in these matters.