EU unveils plan for ‘biggest ever ban’ of dangerous chemicals | Environment

Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals could soon be banned in Europe Under new restrictions, activists described it as the strongest yet.

earlier this year, Scientists said Chemical pollution has crossed the “planetary boundaries” beyond which the collapse of global ecosystems occurs.

The artificial pest is believed to drive the whale species On the verge of extinction He has been blamed Low human fertility ratesAnd 2 million deaths year.

The European Union’s “restrictions roadmap” It was published Monday as a first step to changing that image by using existing laws to ban toxic substances linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, obesity, obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

industry groups Say That as many as 12,000 substances could eventually fall within the scope of the new proposal, which would constitute “the largest ever ban of toxic chemicals in the world,” according to the European Environment Office (EEB).

“Chemical controls in the EU are usually painfully slow, but the EU is planning the boldest detox we have ever seen,” said Tatiana Santos, the bureau’s chemical policy director. Table. It promises to improve the safety of nearly all manufactured products and rapidly reduce chemical intensity in our schools, homes, and workplaces.”

The plan focuses on entire classes of chemicals for the first time as a base, including all flame retardants, bisphenols, PVC, toxic chemicals in single-use nappies and PFAS, also known as “chemicals forever“Because of the time they take to deteriorate naturally.

All of these will be put on a “rolling list” Substances that the European Chemicals Agency should consider restricting. The list will be reviewed and updated regularly, prior to a major EU cornerstone revision Get organized For chemicals scheduled for 2027.

The chemicals identified in the new paper include substances in food contact materials, single-use diapers, and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) in children’s playground granules.

But industry groups argue that the scheme’s focus on combinations of chemicals could affect popular products such as sun creams and perfume, which may use a combination of synthetics.

“Many different ingredients fall into the group of skin allergens, so a wide range of cosmetics are likely to be affected,” said John Chaff, general manager of Cosmetics Europe, a trade body. “The impact on consumers would be that there will likely be less variety, fewer choices and less functional efficacy of cosmetic products with absolutely no safety gains because the ingredients were safe in the first place.”

Other than cosmetics, affected products can include paints, cleaning products, adhesives, lubricants, and pesticides.

Europe’s Reach is already the most comprehensive chemical record in the world, and new bans can amount to more than a quarter of the industry’s annual sales volume of about €500 billion (£420 billion) annuallyaccording to study by Cefic Trading Group.

“Some of the restrictions could have a significant impact on industry and value chains,” Civic spokeswoman Heather Keggins said.

The industry is calling for a more specific approach to restrictions, incentives and import controls to help develop safer alternative products.

However, the European Chemicals Agency prefers Handling chemicals in groups Because chemical companies previously avoided bans on individual chemicals by modifying their chemical makeup to produce sister substances that may also be dangerous, but then require lengthy legislative battles to regulate them.

industry style known asunfortunate replacement‘, has been criticized by environmental groups for allowing the substitution of endocrine-disrupting substances such as bisphenol A Other Bisphenol A Compounds.

Santos called it “a cynical and irresponsible tactic by the chemical industry to replace more harmful banned chemicals with similar harmful ones that have not yet been put on the regulatory radar. We have witnessed a decades-long pattern of unfortunate substitution to avoid regulation.”

more than 190 AD Synthetic chemicals are globally registered and a new synthetic chemical is created every 1.4 seconds in the middle.

The United Nations says It expects the global value of the more than $5 trillion (£3.9 trillion) industry to double by 2030 and quadruple by 2060.

The EU’s environment commissioner, Virginius Sinkevius, said the new restrictions “are aimed at reducing people and the environment’s exposure to some of the most harmful chemicals, and addressing a wide range of their uses – industrial, occupational and consumer products”.

The EU Internal Markets Commissioner, Thierry Breton, said achieving a toxin-free environment required transparency and clarity from the Commission. “The Restrictions Roadmap provides such insight, and allows businesses and other stakeholders to better prepare for potential upcoming restrictions,” he said.

Millions of tons of chemicals were used by industry giants such as BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemicals and ExxonMobil without completing safety checks between 2014 and 2019, according to Research by German environmentalists.