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Sweden’s environment minister is threatening to introduce a national ban on endocrine-disrupting chemicals if the European Union does not act, citing growing evidence of their health-damaging effects.

The minister, Lena Ek, says climate change and endocrine-disrupting chemicals are the two most important issues on her agenda.

Studies show “solid” scientific evidence of the health-damaging effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, the minister said, highlighting research by the Swedish professor Åke Bergman and the Swedish NGO ChemSec.

Ek said she was convinced that “immediate” action is necessary despite facing the risk of a court case with the EU.

Human exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can occur via the ingestion of food, dust and water, inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and skin contact with plastics and rubbers.

Ek said she was particularly worried about Bisphenol A (BPA), an industrial chemical that has been present in many hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage containers since the 1960s. BPA has been found to be an endocrine disruptor.

Even though Sweden introduced a ban on BPA in the lids of children’s food containers last summer, Ek said it might be “necessary” to take further steps if the EU does not move forward.

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