Eliminate toxic chemicals

Pregnant women protest outside the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel against man-made toxic chemicals that contaminate unborn babies

 

Dangerous chemicals threaten our water, air, land and ultimately the health of all living beings. Many are knowingly released into the environment, causing disease, mutation and stunted fertility. Even newborn babies enter the world contaminated with poisonous chemicals inherited from their mothers. The slow accumulation of such substances in the environment, food chain and our bodies is a serious problem. Greenpeace does not oppose the use of chemicals, but is against the release of dangerous ones, especially when there are safer alternatives.

Fortunately, the tide is turning towards the elimination of such substances. In 2007, the world’s most progressive chemical legislation entered into force for EU countries. The EU law, called REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals), requires firms to be more transparent regarding the chemicals they manufacture and use.  It is based on a precautionary principle, shifting the burden of proof regarding for safety onto manufacturers and importers, and it provides for restrictions and phasing out of dangerous chemicals.

If properly implemented, REACH will result in the replacement of the most dangerous chemicals with safe/r alternatives. The proof of its effectiveness will be in how well and how quickly phase outs occur, pursuant to commitments to make chemical management safe by 2020. The impacts of REACH stand to be felt in the wider world too, with non-European manufacturers and governments aligning their policies to Europe’s. In the coming years, additional dangerous substances will be added to the REACH phase out process.

The latest updates

 

Letter to Commission president Juncker on GMO review

Publication | April 8, 2015 at 11:37

Keeping your promise to make EU GMO decisions more democratic

Cancer groups, health and environment NGOs call for emergency EU glyphosate ban

Publication | April 7, 2015 at 16:05

Letter to EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis from Alliance for Cancer Prevention, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, Health and Environment Alliance, Pesticide Action Network.

The power of lobbies

Publication | March 23, 2015 at 15:03

JOINT STATEMENT - updated from 17 December, 2014. Multi-sectoral civil society coalition calls for greater protections for consumers, journalists, whistleblowers, researchers and workers.

How to preserve scientific advice from corporate lobbying

Publication | November 19, 2014 at 14:07

The position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission has been discontinued, and the Juncker Commission says it is now reflecting on how to organise independent scientific advice.

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