REACH seeks to revolutionize chemical regulation in the EU by, for the first time ever, taking a comprehensive approach to control the thousands and thousands of chemicals released into our society and environment every year. It shifts the burden of responsibility so that the chemical producers will have to prove that their products are safe to gain market access in the EU. Previously, government and civil society would have to prove that a chemical is harmful before action is taken – a futile if not impossible task considering the large number of chemicals produced. Also, dangerous chemicals will gradually be banned and replaced by safer alternatives (the substitution principle).
While REACH is a compromise between many different interests and therefore not perfect, I believe that it is a major achievement in environmental policymaking in
Recently, a friend here in Cape Verde told us that her little kid was showing very high levels of heavy metal in the blood during a routine medical check-up in the
This is a pretty scary story for a father of a two year old. What can I possibly do to protect my little one from this kind of malice? I can see with my own eyes how the shelves in the shops here are filled with different kinds of insect poisons, heavy-duty cleaning chemicals and whatnots. And as a customer, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the benevolent ones from the more poisonous ones. Whereas in
Obviously, I try to avoid using strong chemicals, but at the same time we have to do something to kill mosquitoes indoors (some of which can carry malaria) and to prevent the all-invading ants to destroy our food stocks. Also, I have no idea what the contents are in the paint that so easily comes of the walls of our house after the rainy season. Moreover, I know nothing of what is hidden in the dust and the ground around the house – much of which are construction sites. Is asbestos forbidden in
The point is that I (and everybody else, regardless of where in the world you live) am in desperate need of a strong governmental environmental chemical policy to help me out here – one that entirely bans, or in some cases promotes substitution of, the most dangerous chemicals, one that helps me to get information about polluted sites, one that ensures that the products have labels and true information. If not, I simply have no chance of protecting myself or my family from chemical pollution.
I don’t know if