Why Care About Hazardous Chemicals?

Today, toxic chemicals created by man are normal ingredients found in many everyday products; they prevent your computer from catching fire, extend the life of food in different packaging, make your coat waterproof and fulfil hundreds of functions in thousands of products.

Volume wise, several million tonnes of chemicals are produced every year; since the 1970s the value of the chemical industry total production has increased by a factor of twenty. And as the volumes have increased so have the industry’s efforts to tone down any negative long term effects of the substances that they produce.

Some of the world’s foremost chemical researchers are convinced that mankind faces a potentially vast problem, absolutely comparable to climate change.

Toxic chemicals play a role in well-known health issues such as reduced fertility, cancer and neurological illnesses. For example, men in the Western world produce half as much sperm as they did 40 years ago.

In Sweden, studies show that girls are entering puberty earlier, which increases risk of breast cancer among other things. The last decades, scientists see that exposure to toxic chemicals in furniture like sofas have caused a loss of four to five IQ points in children. Who is going to solve future problems if mankind is not clever enough to face the challenges?

There is a general wish among the public for the decision makers to get a grip on the issue of chemicals. According to an survey by the EU Commission, 84 percent of Europe’s inhabitants are worried how chemicals in everyday products affect their health and environment.