The European Commission is undertaking a major study on the environmental health dangers posed by endocrine disruptor chemicals – often used in textiles – promising to report back to the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers by 31 December.

This follows pressure from some EU member states for more robust restrictions on the use of endocrine disruptors. A council communiqué released on Tuesday (11 October) said: “More and more evidence suggests that certain chemicals could harm human reproduction, affect the unborn child and also its later development. These chemicals can be found in everyday life products (eg…textiles)”.

The Commission pledge also comes after the Council was presented with a paper from the Swedish and French governments, which called for member states to stop studying endocrine disruptors and take action.

“There is an urgent need to move from identification and risk assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals towards comprehensive risk management measures – ad-hoc as well as systematic – for the protection of future generations,” it said.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals include substances like nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), which are of major importance for wet processing in the textile industry and often used as nonionic surfactants, detergents and stabilisers in wetting agents, dispersants, emulsifiers, solubilisers and foaming agents.