New restrictions could soon ban thousands of potentially dangerous chemicals in Europe, according to campaigners.
Scientists stated earlier this year that chemical pollution had crossed a planetary boundary, beyond which lies the destruction of global ecosystems.
The EU’s restrictions roadmapPublished Monday was the first step towards changing this picture using existing laws to outlaw toxic chemicals linked to cancers and hormonal disruption, reprotoxic disorder, obesity, and other illnesses.
Industries groups Say itAccording to the European Environmental Bureau, (EEB), the new proposal could cover up to 12,000 substances. It would be the world’s largest ever ban on toxic chemicals.
Tatiana Santos was the bureaus chemicals policy director. Tatiana Santos stated: EU chemical controls can be painfully slow, but the EU has the boldest detox we’ve ever seen. The proposal is shocking to the petrochemical industry lobbyists. It promises to increase safety in almost all manufactured products, and to rapidly lower the chemical intensities of our homes, schools, and workplaces.
The plan addresses entire classes of chemical substance for the first time. This includes all flame retardants, bisphenols plastics, PVC plastics toxic chemicals in single use diapers, and PFAS. They are also known to be forever chemicals because they take time to naturally decay.
All of these will appear on a rolling liste The European Chemicals Agency may consider imposing restrictions on substances. This list will be reviewed and updated regularly, before any major revision to the EUs cornerstone. Reach regulationFor chemicals that are slated for 2027.
The new paper includes chemical substances found in food contact materials, single-use nappies, and PAHs (polycyclic amino hydrocarbon) in playground granules.
Industry groups argue that the schemes’ focus on a few chemicals could impact high-street products like sun creams or perfumes that may use a variety of synthetic substances.
John Chave (director general of Cosmetics Europe), a trade association, stated that many different ingredients fall within the skin sensitizer group, so cosmetic products could be affected. Consumers would see a decrease in choice, functionality, and variety for cosmetic products. There would be no safety gains whatsoever since the ingredients were safe.
Other than cosmetics, products that could be affected include cleaning products, paints, adhesives and lubricants, as well as pesticides.
Europe’s Reach system contains the largest chemical register in the world, and new bans could impact more than a quarter the industry’s annual turnover of approximately $22 billion. 500bn (420bn USD) per annumAccording to A studyCefic trade group
Heather Kiggins spokeswoman for Cefic, and stated that some of the restrictions could have a significant impact upon the industry or value chains.
The industry advocates for a more narrowly focused approach to restrictions and for incentives and import control to encourage the development of safer alternatives.
The European Chemicals Agency favors a neutral approach. Groups of chemicalsBecause pharmaceutical companies have avoided bans on specific chemicals in the past by altering their chemical composition to create sister chemicals that may also be hazardous, but which require lengthy legislative battles to regulate.
The industry tactic, also known as regrettable substitutionEnvironmental groups have criticised the decision to allow the replacement of substances like the endocrine-disrupting Bisphenol A with Other bisphenols.
Santos described the move as a cynical strategy by the chemical industry to substitute the most dangerous banned chemicals with similar ones that are not yet on regulatory radar. We have witnessed a long-standing pattern of regrettable substitutions to avoid regulation.
The UN affirmsIt predicts that the industry’s total global value of more then $5tn (3.9tn), would double by 2030, and quadruple by 2060.
Virginijus Sinkeviius (EU’s environment commissioner) stated that the new restrictions are intended to reduce the exposure of people to some of the most dangerous chemicals. They address a wide range industrial, professional and consumer products.
Thierry Breton (EU’s internal markets commissioner) stated that achieving a toxic-free environment requires transparency and visibility from all levels of the commission. He stated that the restrictions roadmap gives companies and other stakeholders visibility to help them prepare for possible future restrictions.
Industrial giants like BASF and Bayer, Dow Chemicals, ExxonMobil and Dow Chemicals used millions of tonnes worth of chemical substances in their production processes, without having to go through safety checks. This was between 2014 and 2019. ResearchGerman environmentalists.