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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

 

Children awaiting cremation

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 1:00

Children awaiting cremation. A crowd watches as a man pastes identification labels onto dead children's foreheads. So many thousands had died so suddenly that these sorts of drastic measures were necessary to identify and document as many bodies...

Man carries the body of his wife past the

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 1:00

Man carries the body of his wife past the deserted Union Carbide factory, the source of the toxic gas that killed her the night before.

The morning after

Image | 3 December, 1984 at 1:00

The morning after. Survivors of the disaster stand in front of the Union Carbide factory one day after the lethal gas leak. Their eyes and lungs have been badly damaged by exposure to the gas.

GP activists under barrel dump platfrom GEM

Image | 1 July, 1981 at 1:00

GP activists under barrel dump platfrom GEM preventing nuclear dumping.

'Test' protest

Image | 23 January, 1981 at 1:00

In response to the arrival of a "test" oil tanker as part of plans to construct an oil terminal, Greenpeace runs a "test" protest. The terminal was subsequently cancelled.

A trail of puppy harp seal blood on the ice

Image | 1 January, 1981 at 1:00

A trail of puppy harp seal blood on the ice.

Nick Hill

Image | 7 July, 1978 at 0:00

Nick Hill, first Captain of the Rainbow Warrior, in 1978

Crew of 1978 Greenpeace voyage to Iceland

Image | 1 April, 1978 at 1:00

Crew of 1978 Greenpeace voyage to Iceland.

Crew of 1978 Greenpeace voyage to Iceland

Image | 1 April, 1978 at 1:00

Crew of 1978 Greenpeace voyage to Iceland.

Crew of Rainbow Warrior on their way to Iceland

Image | 1 April, 1978 at 1:00

Crew of Rainbow Warrior on their way to Iceland in 1978

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