The European Court of Justice confirmed today that the EU illegally allowed dangerous substances for sale in paints when there were safer options – setting a precedent that tightens the screw on companies’ use of toxic chemicals in the EU.
The phase-out of substances of concern from new materials would entail billions of Euros in business opportunities. We need to recycle more, but have to consider chemical safety alongside increased recycling rates. And the presence of hazardous chemicals in recycled materials prevents the upscaling of circular economy.
“Our analysis shows that if problematic chemicals were more efficiently addressed, the market for recycled materials would increase. Even a small increase of 10% in the recycling of plastic packaging would correspond to an annual increase in EU market value of €2.6 billion”, says Anne-Sofie Bäckar, Executive Director at ChemSec.
Researchers at Karlstad, Örebro and Lund universities have previously shown that PFAS can affect both the pregnant woman and the fetus during early pregnancy, causing preeclampsia and poorer fetal growth. Now, involuntary termination of pregnancy can be added to the list.
In mid-January, we at ChemSec arranged our third workshop on recycled material and chemicals. This time, the topic was plastics in electronics.
Most companies in the chemical industry seem to have been flying under the radar of most investors and divestment campaigns, at least in regard to toxic chemicals. Let’s see for how much longer.