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Toxic shock: health officials block progress on chemical safety

1 October 2020, Brussels – Health officials in Brussels are blocking progress on the biggest upgrade of EU chemical safety laws in a decade, according to a leaked internal document.

The EU is planning to strengthen its chemical safety controls to rapidly eliminate large numbers of harmful substances found today in consumer and commercial products. A strategy will be announced on 14 October. Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today, says the Lancet.

A leaked European Commission document shows health officials frequently expressing commercial concerns and arguing to maintain slow and narrow chemical controls, according to press reports in France (two) and Germany.

EEB chemicals policy manager Tatiana Santos said: “It is a mystery why health officials are fighting rather than welcoming this golden opportunity to reduce chronic and widespread illnesses linked to daily exposure to toxic chemicals. The EU’s toxic-free environment strategy could do so much to reduce the number of people brought low by harrowing diseases like cancer. Without it, it is hard to see how the Commission achieves its Beating Cancer Plan, among other public health goals.”

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For more information, contact Jack Hunter on +33 (0) 751 051 805