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Europe’s protection against hazardous chemicals threatened by TTIP negotiations

The attacks by US government and industry on Europe’s environmental protection laws have increased ever since the start of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. EU regulations are nothing more than barriers to effective trade and should therefore be softened, critics claim.

Last week, a joint coalition of concerned European NGOs, including ChemSec, called on the Parliaments rapporteur on the matter, Mr. Bernd Lange, to follow the advice of the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), to exclude chemical regulation from the TTIP negotiations altogether. The NGO coalition fears that US extensive track record of attacks on Europe’s chemical laws, which they claimed are “discriminatory, lack a legitimate rational, and pose unnecessary obstacles to trade”, will eventually lead to a rollback of REACH in order to accommodate the interests of US industry. As of today numerous chemicals banned by the EU are allowed for use in the US, including more than 80 hazardous pesticides and more than 1300 cosmetic ingredients.

– We strongly support the opinion of DG ENVI, that chemicals should be excluded from TTIP. The EU and the US have fundamentally different approaches and expectations of chemical legislation. Regulatory cooperation in this field might lower the speed and effectiveness of  chemical regulations which is a step in the wrong direction. says Theresa Kjell, ChemSec policy advisor.

The NGO coalition sees the issue of hormone disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as especially worrisome, and claims that the “allegations by the US and industry of unnecessary obstacles to trade are based on hypothetical ‘trade impacts’, calculated by chemicals manufacturers with a clear conflict of interest”. Contrary to these calculations, the human costs for lax regulation on EDCs are very real, amounting to 157 billion Euros annually according to a recent report made by the medical community.

Mr. Bernd Lange is to present his final resolution to be voted upon by the Committee on International Trade (INTA) on 28 May 2015.

Joint NGO letter