On Tuesday (22 december), environment ministers from across the bloc ordered the European Commission to take action on the matter and investigate where current legislation is lacking and to plug the holes.
The EU, like most other powers, focuses on the benefits and dangers of chemicals on a "chemical-by-chemical" basis. That is, regulators look at the effects of each individual chemical. Only recently have scientists begun to be concerned about the combination effects of chemicals that otherwise appear safe in isolation but when absorbed together - in a "chemical cocktail" - could have unexpected and dangerous consequences.
The ministers tasked the commission with producing a recommendation in 2010 on how exposure to combinations of endocrine disruptors should be dealt with in existing legislation and then to evaluate in 2011 if any new laws are needed.
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