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


Leaked EU-Canada joint declaration has legal weight of a holiday brochure, Greenpeace

Press release | October 6, 2016 at 11:27

Brussels – Greenpeace has slammed a joint EU-Canadian declaration meant to reassure critics of a controversial trade deal between the two blocs. Greenpeace described the document as a PR exercise devoid of any legal content.

209 pesticides used in the EU could endanger humans or environment

Press release | July 27, 2016 at 10:53

27 July 2016 – Greenpeace Germany today published an updated version of The EU Pesticide Blacklist [1]. This catalogue, developed by an independent expert, classifies all pesticides authorised in the European Union according to their potential...

Greenpeace: time to hit the stop button on TTIP

Press release | July 15, 2016 at 16:14

Brussels – As the 14th round of troubled EU-US trade talks comes to a close in Brussels, Greenpeace has challenged the EU to put people and the environment back at the heart of its political ambitions.

Rush to adopt EU-Canada trade deal would widen distrust in mainstream politics

Press release | July 5, 2016 at 16:28

Brussels – The accelerated application of an EU-Canada trade deal (CETA) - as proposed today by the European Commission - would increase distrust in mainstream politics and threaten democracy and environmental protection, warned Greenpeace. The...

Europe must reconnect with its people and values

Press release | June 28, 2016 at 11:36

Brussels - Solidarity, sustainability and peace are the answers to today’s challenges, said Greenpeace as EU leaders meet in Brussels today to discuss the aftermath of the UK referendum.

1 - 5 of 55 results.