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The main lobby organisation for Europe’s chemical industry, CEFIC, has been keen to publicise a new study from the European Commission, a “Cumulative Cost Assessment” of the cost of regulation on Europe’s chemical industry. However, as the European Commission has pointed out, the study doesn’t consider economic or broader societal benefits of the legislation (such as protection of workers, public and environment), nor does it provide any data on regulatory costs for chemical companies elsewhere in the world. The data also comes from the chemical industry, who have a long record of exaggerating costs, and assumes full compliance with the law, which is not the reality. [read more]

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee have this morning voted to strengthen their draft report on the regulation of Food Contact Materials. They are calling for the European Commission to create new regulations to ensure that people’s health is protected from chemicals in paper and board packaging, and for particularly problematic chemicals to be phased out of food contact applications. The full European Parliament will vote on the report in the autumn. [read more]

There’s increasing debate on the problems with the laws covering chemicals in food contact materials such as packaging, with the European Parliament currently discussing a report on the issue. On 10th March 2016 CHEM Trust organised a workshop in Brussels to discuss one important aspect, the overlap and gaps between the main chemicals regulation REACH and the laws on chemicals in food contact materials. [read more]

The European Commission has finally presented its long delayed criteria for identifying endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) today. CHEM Trust is shocked by the proposal, which in effect means that there must almost certainly be harm to humans before a chemical can be identified as human EDC.

The Commission proposes a very scientifically demanding wording for identification of EDCs, calling for evidence to show that it is ‘known to cause an adverse effect’. This is in spite of the fact that the pesticides legislation currently refers to “endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effect in humans“, a wording that is also proposed to be abandoned.  In contrast, the identification of a chemical as cancer causing (a carcinogen) is based on “presumed carcinogenic potential”. [read more]

It’s well known that the UK was once the ‘dirty man of Europe’, and that the EU has helped us clean up our beaches and rivers. However, the EU has been working on something even more important to you and your family’s health: controlling the chemicals used in your food and everyday products. [read more]

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.

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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.
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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.