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News article19 January 2022Directorate-General for Environment1 min read

Zero pollution in drinking water: endocrine disrupting chemicals on new watch list of pollutants

Following a decision by the Commission today, drinking water across the EU will have to be monitored more closely for the potential presence of two endocrine disrupting compounds (beta-estradiol and nonylphenol) throughout the whole water supply chain. As required by EU rules on drinking water in force since last year, the Commission established today a first ‘watch list’ of emerging compounds to monitor and address if needed. 

Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:

There can be no compromise on the quality standards for our tap water. Today we are giving effect to new rules that not only prevent well-known pollutants but also give us tools to address emerging concerns. We start with two substances that are endocrine disruptors affecting our health, the environment and biodiversity.

Now that the watch list is established, Member States have until 12 January 2023 to put in place monitoring requirements throughout the drinking water supply chain, as well as take measures if guidance values are exceeded. Over time, if new substances emerge that are likely to be present in drinking water and could pose a potential health risk—such as endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals or microplastics—the Commission will add them to the list. This new mechanism will contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU Chemicals Strategy and of the Zero Pollution Action Plan for a toxic-free environment. 


The recast (revised) Drinking Water Directive entered into force in January 2021. Its main objective is to protect human health of EU citizens by setting quality standards. Member States must ensure this Directive is duly transposed into national laws by 12 January 2023. The rules adopted today are in the form of an Implementing Decision as provided in the recast Drinking Water Directive.

Endocrine disrupting compounds are a mixed group of chemicals of varying structure that can interfere with physiological and biochemical processes in the human body.

More information

Implementing Decision

Drinking water legislation - Environment - European Commission (

Drinking Water Directive 2020/2184/EU


Publication date
19 January 2022
Directorate-General for Environment

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