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.

In addition to REACH, the EU’s Water Framework Directive is meant to halt the release of dangerous chemicals into European waters.  The directive is set to be expanded in 2011 and 2012.

 

The latest updates

 

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.

Italian presidency to tackle EU energy future and genetically modified crops

Publication | June 6, 2014 at 12:33

Italy will take over the six-month presidency of the council of the European Union in July 2014. During these months, a number of important environmental and energy issues will be at the heart of European politics.

Dripping Poison

Publication | December 16, 2013 at 9:00

An Analysis of neonicotinoid insecticides in the guttation fluid of growing maize plants

Entry into force of EU restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides...

Publication | November 28, 2013 at 13:00

Brussels - On 1 December 2013, the three neonicotinoid insecticides thiamethoxam (produced by Syngenta), imidacloprid and clothianidin (produced by Bayer), will be subject to a partial two-year ban in the European Union (EU). The insecticides are...

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