The European Parliament on October 4 blocked a European Commission proposal that would have exempted some chemicals in pesticides from being identified as endocrine disruptors.

MEPs said the Commission exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt substances which are designed to attack an organism’s endocrine system.

Tabled by MEPs Jytte Guteland and Bas Eickhout, the objection was approved by 389 votes to 235, with 70 abstentions.

Now the European Commission will draft a new version of the text.

Under existing EU law, pesticides or biocide substances must have no endocrine-disrupting effects on other species than the ones targeted. To apply this rule, the EU needs a list of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors.

In 2015, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU Commission had breached EU law by failing to publish criteria for determining endocrine disrupters due at the end of 2013. MEPs have repeatedly urged the EU to clamp down on the substances.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), endocrine disruptors are a “global threat”. It pointed to evidence of adverse reproductive effects (infertility, cancers, malformations) which could also affect thyroid function, brain function, obesity, metabolism, insulin and glucose homeostasis.