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On 25th February we sent a letter to the EU’s Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, highlighting our concerns with the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) conclusions on Bisphenol A (BPA), and also asking what progress has been made in addressing the regulatory gaps in our protection from chemicals in food packaging.

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New research, published today, finds that there is a link between the exposure of pregnant women to the phthalate DEHP and the development of their baby boys.

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Authorisation is working, conference decides

Last week the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) held a conference on “Lessons learnt on Applications for Authorisation“. I couldn’t attend myself, but I did watch much of it on line – I’ve also spoken to people who were there. It ended up being a very positive event, which is good news as Authorisation is an important tool in creating a more sustainable society.

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The deadline to apply for this post has now passed
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The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) of the UK House of Commons is currently doing an inquiry into the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its impacts on the environment and the developing world. Yesterday they published the evidence that had been submitted to this inquiry, including a submission from CHEM Trust.

The main points we made in our submission were: [read more]

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have today published the opinion of their CEF scientific panel [1] on the risks to public health related to the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in foodstuffs.

[See end of this blog item for a challenge to the EFSA assessment from the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark]

In this opinion they have cut their estimate of the safe exposure level (temporary Tolerable Daily Intake (t-TDI)) to 4 micro g/kg body weight per day, down from the 5 micro g/kg body weight per day that was calculated in the draft opinion at the start of 2014.

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The EU’s REACH system for regulating chemicals was supposed to bring with it a significant improvement in protection of people and the environment from toxic chemicals. But is it delivering? The latest developments in the debate over alternatives to the phthalate DEHP, used in PVC products, suggest that there are some serious problems.
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We are now in the final week of the European Commission’s consultation on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), and today CHEM Trust submitted our response to the consultation. [Update: consultation has now finished].

Here are some of the key points we make in our response:

  • We support the proposal to use three different categories to define endocrine disrupting chemicals – known endocrine disrupter, suspected endocrine disrupter, potential endocrine disrupter. This approach allows the best use of available scientific evidence, and is line with the system already in use for carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins.
  • We oppose the proposal to have a system that sets an arbitrary and unscientific cut off based on claimed ‘potency’ levels. For more details see this answer about potency in our Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals FAQ.
  • We oppose any changes to existing laws, as we consider that they already give sufficient flexibility and exemptions.

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The EU and US are continuing in their attempts to negotiate a new “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” – or TTIP for short, including measures to increase regulatory harmonisation, to reduce tariffs and to create an ‘Investor State Dispute Mechanism’.

As we wrote back in July 2014[read more]

At the start of December I gave a short presentation at the health session of the EEB’s 40th Anniversary conference. It was based around three themes:

  • the need to ensure pollution is part of discussions on the environment (rather than just climate, resource efficiency and biodiversity)
  • the need to focus on increasing wellbeing in the jobs, growth & sustainability debate
  • the need to acknowledge the real complexities of science when making decisions on how to control chemical use

What do these themes mean for Europe in 2015?  [read more]