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European Union Plans “Largest Ever Ban” on Toxic Chemicals – Mother Jones


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European Union Plans “Largest Ever Ban” on Toxic Chemicals – Mother Jones


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This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals could soon be prohibited in Europe under new restrictions, which campaigners have hailed as the strongest yet.

Earlier this year, scientists said chemical pollution had crossed a “planetary boundary” beyond which lies the breakdown of global ecosystems. The synthetic blight is thought to be pushing whale species to the brink of extinction and has been blamed for declining human fertility rates, and 2 million deaths a year.

The EU’s “restrictions roadmap” published on Monday was conceived as a first step to transforming this picture by using existing laws to outlaw toxic substances linked to cancers, hormonal disruption, reprotoxic disorders, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses.

Industry groups say that up to 12,000 substances could ultimately fall within the scope of the new proposal, which would constitute the world’s “largest ever ban of toxic chemicals,” according to the European Environmental Bureau.

“The EU is planning the boldest detox we have ever seen. Petrochemical industry lobbyists are shocked at what is now on the table.”

Tatiana Santos, the bureau’s chemicals policy manager, said: “EU chemical controls are usually achingly slow but the EU is planning the boldest detox we have ever seen. Petrochemical industry lobbyists are shocked at what is now on the table. It promises to improve the safety of almost all manufactured products and rapidly lower the chemical intensity of our schools, homes and workplaces.”

The plan focuses on entire classes of chemical substances for the first time as a rule, including all flame retardants, bisphenols, PVC plastics, toxic chemicals in single-use diapers, and PFAS, which are also known as “forever chemicals” because of the time they take to naturally degrade.

All of these will be put on a “rolling list” of substances to be considered for restriction by the European Chemicals Agency. The list will be regularly…



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