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The European Commission has just adopted legislation amending the EU Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of dangerous chemical substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation) to introduce a new hazard class for endocrine disruptors. 

This new hazard class will consist of two categories: category 1 for known or presumed endocrine disruptors and category 2 for suspected endocrine disruptors, both for human health and the environment. 

In this revision of the CLP Regulation, new hazard classes are also introduced for other harmful substances. These are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances that do not degrade in the environment and can accumulate in living organisms, and persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) and very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) substances that can end up in all parts of the water cycle, including drinking water. 

Manufacturers and suppliers of these substances or products containing them will therefore have to re-evaluate them and, if they meet the classification criteria defined in the regulation, they will have to label them accordingly in order to inform users (consumers and workers) of the dangers involved. 

This revision of the CLP Regulation, which comes into force on 20 April 2023, will apply from 1 May 2025. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is expected to publish guidelines to help industry comply with the new classification and labelling rules in May 2024, a year before they come into force.  

 "The long-awaited introduction of a new hazard class for endocrine disruptors in the CLP Regulation will be extremely useful for better protection of the many workers exposed to these dangerous substances in the European Union," said Marian Schaapman, who heads the ETUI's Occupational Health and Safety Unit. "It also paves the way for a possible extension of the scope of the Carcinogens, Mutagens and Reprotoxins Directive to endocrine disruptors," she added. 

As a reminder, endocrine disruptors are substances or mixtures of exogenous chemicals that have the ability to interfere with the hormonal system and can therefore induce adverse health effects. Exposure to endocrine disruptors, which are widely present in consumer products (pesticides, cosmetics, textiles, toys, etc.), is thought to be one of the causes of the explosion of certain diseases in recent years: obesity and metabolic disorders, reproductive problems, hormonal cancers, thyroid diseases, neurological diseases, etc. 

For more information on endocrine disruptors, see chapter 25 written by the ETUI in the following book.