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Chemicals out of control

Governments and industry have failed tocontrol the spread of dangerous chemicals around the globe. Sowidespread are manmade hazardous chemicals in our environment, in ourhomes and in the products we use every day, that we are constantlyexposed to a cocktail of chemicals. As a result, even our own bodiesare contaminated.

Moda sin Toxicos

High fashion isn't normally known for being held in high regard amongenvironmentalists. But some big names and big brands in fashion havegotten together with us to put on a toxics-freefashion show. The clothes we wear, no matter how expensive,shouldn't cost the Earth.

In our environment:

It nowseems that no part of the planet is free from chemical contamination.Research shows that fish and whales caught hundreds of kms offshore,and in remote areas such as Alpine lakes and the polar regions, despitebeing far from any industry, are no longer pristine. Rainwater inEurope has been shown to be polluted with the hazardous chemicals thatare added to consumer products. A recent study has found that eels infreshwater ecosystems across Europe are contaminated, raising concernfor the impact on this once abundant species whose numbers now are inrapid decline.

In our homes:

Our testing hasfound that house dust in homes across Europe is contaminated withhazardous manmade chemicals. Chemicals that are added to ordinaryhousehold products (including carpets and other furnishings, electricaland electronic goods, toys and childcare articles, etc.) can bereleased over time, accumulating in the dust in our homes. Chemicals insuch products are rarely labelled and you probably don't realise theyare there. Bringing these chemicals via consumer products into ourhomes leads to a repeated and long-term exposure to low doses of thesecontaminants.

In our products:

Hazardouschemicals are intentionally added to consumer products that we useevery day. Electronics, toys, shampoos, perfumes, furniture, even babies' pyjamas, can all contain substances with the potential to harmhealth and development. We have tested a wide range of these productsfor hazardous chemicals. You can read the results of our testing anddiscover which brands contain the most toxic substances on our ChemicalHome website.

In our bodies:

Analyses ofumbilical cord blood have confirmed the presence of hazardous chemicalsin humans at the very start of life, indicating that chemicals releasedtoday could have profound consequences for the next generation. Thisproves that chemicals released into our environment may have an impacton future generations. No one knows how many man-made chemicalscontaminate our bodies but more than 100 is a conservative estimate. Sogreat is the number of chemicals all around us that we're constantlyexposed to multiple doses, the combined effect of which could beimpacting our health. This effect of chemicals in our bodies, includingin our blood, is largely unknown. There's particular concern about therisks to children and babies, since they are the most vulnerable, andbecause some of these hazardous chemicals are known to affect thedevelopment of babies inside the womb.


The European Union has approved a new chemical law to replaceregulation that is over 40 years old. But the new EU chemicalslegislation (REACH) is in critical condition. Read more analysis or a guide to how you can help strengthen the new law.

We are campaigning for solutions. We believe that politicians must takeaction and require companies to stop using hazardous chemicals and tosubstitute them with safer alternatives whenever and wherever possible.

The latest updates

 

River during heavy rain storm.

Image | January 1, 1994 at 1:00

River during heavy rain storm.

Close up of leaves eaten by insects on Mount

Image | January 1, 1994 at 1:00

Close up of leaves eaten by insects on Mount Kinabalu.

Shafts of sunlight shining through trees

Image | January 1, 1994 at 1:00

Shafts of sunlight shining through trees on Mount Kinabalu.

Aerial view of forest in Sarawak.

Image | January 1, 1994 at 1:00

Aerial view of forest in Sarawak.

River water flowing over moss covered rocks

Image | January 1, 1994 at 1:00

River water flowing over moss covered rocks.

The chlorine factory Atochem at Fos

Image | September 14, 1993 at 1:00

The chlorine factory Atochem at Fos-Sur-Mer, France, which Greenpeace activists spent four days blocking. Both entrances and the railway to the plant were blocked and a ship trying to enter was blocked. The Rainbow Warrior and the Vega were...

Greenfreeze

Image | September 1, 1993 at 1:00

Greenfreeze - ozone friendly refrigerator containing no freons or CFCs.

Climate Change and the Insurance Industry

Publication | May 24, 1993 at 0:00

Hurricane Andrew caused more than US$ 16 billion in damages in the United States. In this 1993 report, Greenpeace policy advisor Jeremy Leggett assessed the options for insurance industry action in the face of mounting costs for climate-related...

Return of German toxic waste from Romania

Image | April 15, 1993 at 1:00

Return of German toxic waste from Romania to Germany. German government decides to return 425 tons of toxic waste back to Germany.

Polluting waste incinerator near local community

Image | January 23, 1993 at 1:00

Polluting waste incinerator near local community, East Liverpool.

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