The debate on the regulation of chemicals in Food Contact Materials – such as packaging – is starting to heat up, with a new study from the European Parliament’s Research Service (EPRS) echoing many of the criticisms that CHEM Trust made in our briefing on the subject.
In addition, the MEP acting as a rapporteur on the European Parliament’s investigation of this issue, Christel Schaldemose, has published her draft report, which suggests possible areas of improvement.
Nigel Haigh, who is one of CHEM Trust’s trustees, has recently published a book examining the evolution of EU environmental policy – something he has been closely involved with since the 1970s. The book describes the creation of a fairly comprehensive system of environmental policy, which in many areas has a global impact. It includes a history of EU chemicals regulation, and of the precautionary principle in Europe.
New research, published today finds that people in the US who eat more fast food have higher levels of certain phthalate chemicals in their urine. The chemicals found, DEHP and DINP, are used as plasticisers in PVC plastics, and their use is partially restricted in Europe due to health concerns; they are also hormone (endocrine) disrupters. [read more]
The European Commission has committed to finally proposing scientific criteria to identify hormone (or endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs) by summer 2016. They’ve already been found guilty of breaking EU law by the European Court of Justice for failing to do this by a legal deadline of December 2013.
In CHEM Trust’s view the criteria should be similar to those already used for other particularly problematic chemicals such as carcinogens. Therefore, they should be science-based, and focussed on achieving a high level of protection for human health and the environment, as required by the respective EU laws. We welcome the fact that a consensus statement of scientists hosted by the German Risk Assessment Insitute BfR has today (4th May) backed our view that potency is not relevant for the identification of EDCs.
Many claims have been made by parts of industry about the economic impacts of such criteria, yet careful analysis of the relevant laws shows that, if needed, there are routes available for continued use of particularly important chemicals, if safer alternatives aren’t available. [read more]
CHEM Trust, together with Health and Environment Alliance, have just published a comment piece in Euractiv:
“Endocrine disruptors pose a substantial risk to public health, yet the European Commission has dawdled time and again on introducing measures that would finally limit their use. Now is the time to put this right, write Genon Jensen and Michael Warhurst.” text continues on Euractiv site
We, along with over 60 other environmental and health groups, have also sent a letter to EU Environment Ministers prior to their discussions on hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals on Friday 4th March, calling for them to:
“make a strong statement calling on the European Commission to immediately comply with the ruling of the European Court of Justice on scientific criteria to identify Endocrine Disruptors”
For more information on CHEM Trust’s analysis of how such criteria for identifying hormone disrupters should be defined, see our blog post on the EU consultation on criteria for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
Today, Monday 22nd February, the 12th negotiation round on the EU-US Transatlantic Investment Partnership (TTIP) is starting in Brussels. CHEM Trust remains very concerned about the proposals within TTIP for ‘regulatory co-operation’, which we consider have the potential to delay or undermine protection of wildlife and people from hazardous chemicals. [read more]
Europe’s pesticide regulations aim to ensure a high level of protection of human, animal and environment health. An important part of the law is that certain harmful pesticides, including those that cause cancer or are endocrine disrupters (disrupt hormones, EDCs), cannot be approved unless there is ‘negligible exposure’ of people and the environment to them under realistic conditions of use. CHEM Trust is concerned that the EU is trying to weaken this requirement, which would mean that these hazardous chemicals can continue to be used. [read more]
Food packaging, factory equipment, food utensils – almost everything we eat has been in contact with one or more of these items. The EU’s laws should ensure that chemicals used in these materials are safe, but they do not go far enough and contain holes.
These holes – for example a lack of harmonised rules on paper and card, inks, coatings and adhesives – mean that public health is not properly protected, and also lead to disruption of the internal market.
Our briefing “Chemicals in food contact materials: A gap in the internal market, a failure in public protection“, first published on 26th January 2016, outlines the key problems, and proposes some solutions. [read more]
Our oceans and seas have been polluted over time with a number of contaminants, from litter and plastic waste to an array of man-made chemicals which have caused numerous problems for many wildlife species. So considering these pollutants, how safe is the fish, shellfish and other seafood we eat? [read more]
The European Commission recently published a ‘road map’ proposing options for increasing controls on the use of hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials.
CHEM Trust has been concerned about the health and environmental impacts of BPA for many years, and in our view, it should be phased out of all food contact applications.
However, as we point out in our response to this consultation, we are also concerned that the European Commission’s view of the feasibility of different options has been unduly influenced by a hitherto industry-only consultation process.