Mother and baby protest at chemical company BASF, which has been lobbying against stronger laws on hazardous chemicals.
Across the industrialised world sperm counts have fallen as much
as 50percent in the last 50 years. (The 'endangered sperm',
anyone?)Infertility rates have more than doubled in industrialised
countriessince the 1960s, while testicular cancer has become
increasinglycommon. Reproductive system birth defects are
increasing in baby boys.The exact cause of these changes is unknown
but one of the suspects isour exposure to the increasing amount of
hazardous chemicals in ourdaily lives. So great is our exposure
that unborn children can beexposed to over 100 manmade industrial
chemicals while stillin the womb. Many of these substances have the
potential to harm thedevelopment of an infant's reproductive
Our report, '
Fragile: Our reproductive health and chemical
exposure',collates the findings of a number of scientific
studies. Together, thestudies show for the first time a
comprehensive picture of an increasein reproductive health
disorders, mirroring the rising presence in ourlives of man-made
Fix required, but trashing in progress
At least in Europe there is an attempt underway to address
growingconcerns about chemical pollution and the effects of
hazardouschemicals on public health and the environment. A new law
(REACH) isbeing drafted but has come under unprecedented,
concerted attack fromthe chemical industry.
The chemical industry has led a massive lobby effort in Brussels
tomake sure the new law will do more to protect their short-term
profitrather than provide long term solutions to chemical
contamination ofour environment, our homes and our bodies. Some of
the 'highlights' ofthe chemicals industry's efforts to trash REACH
- Denying and undermining the health and environmental problems
caused by hazardous chemicals.
- Deliberately exaggerating potential costs and
scare-mongeringabout job losses to mislead and intimidate European
politicians intowatering down the REACH proposal. Actual costs of
the law will be atiny fraction of the chemical industry's huge
- Actively slowing down and stalling the process of drafting
REACH in an attempt to prevent it ever becoming law.
Our man in Brussels, Jorgo Riss has seen this industry lobby up
closeand knows it's not pretty: "Lack of accountability and
transparency inBrussels decision-making comes at the cost of public
interestlegislation. The chemicals industry's corrosive campaign to
destroyREACH thus far has depended on the willingness of key
officials toabandon their role as public servants and behave like
Putting a face to the lobby
One of the main backers of the lobby effort is German chemical
While industry has argued that extra protection from
hazardouschemicals will cost too much , the income of BASF rose 50
percent to ahuge US$3.7 billion! With those profits, BASF can
afford to maintain aclose relationship with many politicians. In
2005, over 235 politiciansreceived money from BASF in Germany
We have been pressuring European politicians to stand up for
theinterests of the people who actual elected them rather than
thechemical industry. Now we are
exposing the companies who lobby againsthealth and the
To expose the dark side of BASF, we turned up at the company's
annualmeeting with mothers demanding that BASF stop producing
chemicals thatcontaminate their babies.
Ulrike Kallee was at the BASF meeting: "When I learned I was
pregnant,I was immediately distressed by the knowledge that my
child will beborn with hazardous chemicals in his or her body. I
find it totallyimmoral that companies like BASF can continue to
produce such chemicalseven when safer alternatives exist.
Help me to stop this madness andprotect the health of all of
At the Danish BASF headquarters pregnant women protested the
productionby BASF of chemicals that are known to contaminate unborn
If you live in Europe
you can pressure European politicians to resistindustry
lobbying and demand that publicly elected officials stand upfor
Pressure European politicians to resist industry lobbying and demand that publicly elected officials stand up for your rights.
Give now to help our campaign for a toxic free future.