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

 

NGO letter to EU Parliament pesticide committee

Publication | April 13, 2018 at 15:30

We, along with 22 other NGOs, wrote to the European Parliament's newly formed pesticide committee (PEST).

NGO letter to President Juncker urging a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides

Publication | March 19, 2018 at 15:17

Over 50 NGOs wrote to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, urging him to ban neonicotinoid pesticides without delay.

Open letter to Juncker and Timmermans requesting active intervention in support of...

Publication | April 11, 2017 at 15:51

Leading civil society organisations in Europe have written to Commission President Juncker and Vice-President Timmermans to request your active intervention in In view of the situation in Hungary.

Open letter on the independence and transparency of ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee

Publication | March 7, 2017 at 10:18

20 health and environmental organisations wrote to the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency, Mr. Geert Dancet, to express concerns regarding conflicts of interest and transparency at the agency.

Leaked TiSA texts reveal threats to climate

Publication | September 20, 2016 at 9:32

Amsterdam/Geneva – Greenpeace Netherlands has released unpublished texts from the TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) negotiations and conducted an in-depth analysis of the energy chapter, which indicates serious threats to international climate...

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