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

 

Concerns remain over Juncker Commission’s commitment to environment

Press release | October 22, 2014 at 14:17

With today’s vote by the European Parliament a new political phase begins in the European Union. The Green 10 alliance of leading environmental organisations calls on President Juncker and his team of Commissioners to give European citizens, and...

Commissioner Hearings 2014: Andriukaitis voices commitment to protect Europeans’...

Press release | September 30, 2014 at 12:32

Brussels - Commenting on today’s hearing of commissioner candidate for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director said: “This wasn’t a bad performance. He showed his commitment to...

Environment and fisheries candidate Vella fails to convince

Press release | September 29, 2014 at 16:24

Brussels --- The first of the commissioners’ hearings scheduled over the next two weeks, Karmenu Vella’s performance today raised concerns about the ability of president Juncker’s Commission to play its institutional role of safeguarding...

Juncker makes controversial choices for Commission environment and energy portfolios

Press release | September 10, 2014 at 13:44

Brussels - Commenting on the choice of candidates for the new Commission led by incoming president Jean-Claude Juncker, Greenpeace EU managing director Mahi Sideridou said:

NGOs call for debate on how to put science at the heart of EU politics

Press release | August 19, 2014 at 8:30

Brussels - Scientific advice should be transparent, objective and independent, and there should be more science and more diverse expertise available to the European Commission’s President, a coalition of 28 international and national NGOs wrote...

1 - 5 of 35 results.

Categories