Within days you will sign off the Commission Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability as part of the commitments set out in the Green Deal. On behalf of ChemSec, an environmental NGO promoting safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, I would like to stress some important issues to make sure the Strategy will deliver on its aim to better protect citizens and the environment against hazardous chemicals.
Sustainability has to go down as one of the most unclear terms of the 21st century. There’s no real agreement for what it actually means, yet it’s thrown around everywhere and slapped on every product being made these days. So, a definition is needed. But when creating this definition, we need to be very cautious. Why? Well, because it can potentially have huge implications.
Video of ChemSec webinar, October 6 2020
In ChemSec’s latest project – ChemScore – we analysed and ranked the world’s 35 biggest chemical companies based on their efforts to reduce their chemical footprint. One of the main things we looked at was how many hazardous chemicals they produce. Special attention was given to a specific chemical property that is extra problematic for investors – persistence – since liability cases connected to these substances may surface a long time from now.
Did you ever wonder how companies can get away with having harmful chemicals on the EU market? Wonder no more. ChemSec presents to you the ultimate guide to cheat EU chemicals regulation and get away with it. We will show you how to dodge regulation in the first place, and how to delay controls and ensure that your toxic chemical stays on the EU market for a long time once your company has been targeted by the authorities.
Today, investors can find out which companies produce hazardous chemicals, but not how big their productions are. One company can produce hundreds of hazardous chemicals in very small amounts, while another can produce only one or two but have a huge production – and investors wouldn’t know. It goes without saying that the amount of harmful substances that a company produces plays a huge role. Are we talking about one ton or one million tons?
Tattoo inks are made up of a complex mix of chemicals that stay in the body for life, and several of these chemicals are known to cause cancer and other negative health effects. In light of this, EU member states recently voted in favour of an EU-wide legislation that would restrict the use of hazardous chemicals in tattoo inks and permanent make-up. The restriction would impose concentration limits for dozens of harmful chemicals.
With miniscule letters it read on the box: “Not intended for the immediate eye area”. My friend and I looked at each other and wondered if we had understood it correctly. Where else if not the immediate eye area is eyeshadow meant to be used? What’s next, a lipstick that isn’t intended for the immediate mouth area? This is of course a symptom of a much bigger problem than just one company trying to safeguard itself against angry and dissatisfied customers with rashes around their eyes.
Four years ago, the EU Commission granted the Canada-based paint manufacturer Dominion Colour Corporation (DCC) authorisation to use toxic lead chromates in red and yellow paint pigments. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the company will not reapply for permission to continue selling these pigments in Europe beyond May 2022, when its current authorisation expires.
The warm and pleasant sun rays can cause us harm if we are not careful. The go-to advice to avoid this has long been to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen does indeed protect us from harmful UV radiation but many of the chemicals that are frequently used in sunscreens are, unfortunately, harmful themselves – either to our own health or to the environment. So, how do we best protect ourselves against the sun’s UV radiation while, at the same time, considering the chemical ingredients present in sunscreens?