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Is the chemical industry trying to weaken rules on labelling harmful chemicals?

Chemical Watch has reported that the chemical-industry backed ECETOC organisation is pushing to change the way hazardous chemicals are classified & labelled.

The group aims to change the safety labels on chemical that are carcinogenic (cancer causing) or toxic to reproduction. These labels inform users of the chemicals about their hazards, so that risk management measures can be taken. ECETOC wants to move to a situation where the potency is considered when deciding what to put on the label.

CHEM Trust senior policy advisor Ninja Reineke explains why this is the wrong approach:

“This industry proposal is deeply worrisome,” said Ninja Reineke from the NGO ChemTrust.

“Chemical companies should be trying to design chemicals which don’t cause cancer or toxicity to reproduction, or avoid and limit their use. But instead, here they are suggesting to downgrade the classification of carcinogens and reproductive toxicants, which would open the door to the use of more harmful chemicals,” she says.

“Exposure to a weakly potent carcinogen might still result in some cancers, in particular, when exposure occurs at critical times and in combination with other carcinogens,” Ms Reineke adds.