View Full Version : EU to introduce tougher regulations on chemicals : good or bad ?

17-11-05, 12:22
BBC News : Vote expected on EU chemical law (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4444550.stm) (+ Europe diary: Christmas under threat (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4439758.stm))

The European Parliament is preparing to vote on far-reaching legislation which would lead to the safety testing of around 30,000 chemicals.
The EU's chemicals legislation will require the safety testing of around 30,000 substances, found in everything from cars to computers to children's toys.
The proposed regulation is an interesting test case. Tony Blair is always going on about facing up to the threat from globalisation. But a German paint manufacturer I interview tells me that if this goes ahead he will seriously consider setting up a factory painting aircraft in Russia, where there are no such regulations.

Equally a Belgium family I talk to, who are taking part in tests to detect industrial chemicals in their blood, are horrified at what they find. The grandmother blames a metal factory she lived next to as a child for her cancer and for the death of her sister and father from cancer. How do you get the balance right?

In my views, stricter regulations would be beneficial for European companies, as once they have adapted to the change, they wouldn't face competition of products from outside Europe that do not match the regulations, as these would become illegal on the EU market. Developping countries like China may produce cheaper chemicals, but they may lack the technology or knowledge to produce them as the EU wants. Anyhow, the cost of adaptation will be the same for everyone, European or not. EU-produced chemicals may be more expensive globally, but will also gain a reputation for safety.

I am in favour of the new regulations because unchecked chemicals are potentially extremely harmul to health and may be one of the major cause of the rising number of cancers. Developed countries should be ready to pay more for safer products. It will also benefit the environment as a whole.

17-11-05, 12:52
I also support this legislation. The EU needs to assert itself as an entity that says not to corporate bullying and stands up for the rights of its citizens by makin our environment safer and by being more responsible when it comes to things such as dangerous chemicals

17-11-05, 16:02
This would be a good thing (IMHO)...The US has been doing this for quite some time now. This will benefit everyone involved, but it will also drive pricing up. I wouldn't underestimate China's ability to produce the chemicals though.

18-11-05, 05:02
Update : BBC News : Euro MPs back major chemicals law (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4444550.stm)

Businesses wanting to use the most dangerous chemicals will have to get special authorisation from the agency.

The European Parliament also voted for improved labelling of products made with chemicals thought to be harmful.

Up to now, chemicals put on the market before 1981 - the vast majority of those currently in use - have not had to be checked for their effects on health and the environment.

The onus has been on public health authorities in individual countries to test those they suspect may be dangerous.
The tests would have to be carried out in phases over 11 years, starting with the most dangerous substances, and those used in the largest volumes.
Italian Socialist MEP Guido Sacconi, who steered Reach through the parliament's environment committee, said the vote gave Europe the "strongest protection in the world" from dangerous chemicals.

He added that "unbelievable pressure" was brought to bear on MEPs by big businesses.

01-12-06, 18:08
Little update :

BBC News : EU draws up toxic chemicals law (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6199326.stm)

The European Parliament and EU governments have struck a deal on wide-ranging legislation to control the use of toxic chemicals in industry.

The draft law, due to come into force next year, is designed to make firms prove the chemicals they use are safe.

12-12-06, 06:05
Yesssss, very good news. At least one continent is trying to protect us and the environment.

12-12-06, 14:22
Absolutely a good thing. :-)
"It's better to be safe than sorry".
*remembers cases of asbestosis* :(

13-12-06, 00:32
Although this new EU regulation is acclaimed as the most environment friendly legislation in the world (by far), the ecologists feel that they have lost the fight against the lobbyist of the chemical industry, because the legislation was originally planned for 100,000 substances, but was reduced to 30,000.

13-12-06, 21:23
The directive passed today at the European Parliament. Only the Greens voted against, which may seem ironic, but this is because they estimated that it wasn't sufficient as 70,000 substances had been dropped from the original project.

17-12-06, 00:19
Once you start looking into this legislation, it is scary how many everyday products can cause cancers, hormonal troubles, irritations, allergies and all sorts of things. For instance :

- Paraffin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraffin) (present in bathroom putties) : causes upset of the thyroid hormone.

- PFC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfluorocarbon) (present in anti-adhesive pans and synthetic clothes) : causes memory decline, liver damage, and cancers.

- Cadmium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium) (present in shoes, semiconductors, plastics...) : toxic and carcinogenic

- Parabens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraben) (present in soaps, shampoos, cosmetic creams...) : upsets the endocrinian system (=whole hormonal system).

- Bromined (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromine) fire-retardants (present in PC's, TV's, household appliances, furniture...) : upsets the hormonal system, upsets brain development, alter reproductive functions, causes cancers.

- Formaldehyde (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde) (present in sheets, matresses, painting and furniture) : causes eye, throat and lung irritations, allergies and cancer.

- Bisphenol A (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A) (present in tin boxes, sunglasses, CD's, baby bottles...) upsets the hormonal system.

- Phthalates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalates) (present in plastic toys, sex toys, nail polish, adhesives, painting, vinyl flooring...) : upsets hormonal system and testicle cells.

And that's just a handful of the 100,000 chemicals considered dangerous for health...

Recent studys have also revealed that (drink) cans can be carcinogenic, and deodorant sprays are often toxic.