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

 

Commission rejects demands of #StopGlyphosate citizens’ initiative

Press release | December 12, 2017 at 17:10

Brussels – The European Commission has issued its formal response to the #StopGlyphosate European Citizens Initiative (ECI).

Growing number of EU governments oppose re-approval of glyphosate

Press release | October 25, 2017 at 12:30

Brussels - Amid mounting political and public opposition to glyphosate, representatives of European governments have again rejected the Commission’s proposal to grant the controversial and widely used weedkiller a new licence. A final vote has...

Commissioner Andriukaitis confronted with demands of over one million Europeans to...

Press release | October 23, 2017 at 11:43

Two days before EU members states are expected to vote on whether to renew the licence for the controversial weedkiller glyphosate, representatives of the Stop Glyphosate European Citizens’ Initiative have met the European commissioner for health...

In just five weeks almost 500,000 people ask EU to ban glyphosate

Press release | March 14, 2017 at 10:26

Brussels – In just five weeks, almost half a million Europeans have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to ban the controversial weedkiller glyphosate. On Wednesday, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) may dismiss a warning by...

Neonicotinoids bigger threat to wild bees and other animals than previously thought

Press release | January 12, 2017 at 9:00

Brussels, 12 January 2017 – Neonicotinoid pesticides pose serious risks not only to honeybees, but also to many other species, according to a scientific review published today by Greenpeace.

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