The circular economy forces us to focus on the hazardous properties of chemicals. To neglect this and instead talk about the risk of exposure is close to absurd. Surprisingly, some parts of the chemical industry still do this. It’s time for a change of mind.
Tolerable intakes for PFAS could be much lower than scientists previously thought. EFSA’s scientific panel recommends lowering these levels drastically, indicating that the presence of PFAS in the food chain is a big problem to human health.
European chemicals legislation allows several hazardous chemicals, that are identified as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and restricted under the REACH regulation, to be used in food contact material. How can this be?
Prioritization is a well-used term in chemicals management. It builds on the idea that instead of trying to deal with all hazardous chemicals in products and supply chains at the same time, you should focus on the worst offenders first. The problem is that many professionals connected to chemical regulation focus too much on prioritization. They spend their time forever prioritising instead of keeping their eyes on the ultimate goal, which is of coursing dealing with the hazardous chemicals.
Seven years after Greenpeace launched its Detox campaign comes a report showing how 80 fashion companies that committed to cut hazardous chemicals from their clothing production by 2020 have all achieved significant progress.
A year ago, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation started an internet campaign called Surfejs aiming to remove perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from cosmetics. More than 1,500 consumers sent e-mails to eight of the biggest cosmetics producers in the world, encouraging them to remove PFCs from their products. Until recently, five of these companies had announced that they would begin phasing out these toxic chemicals as soon as possible. Now, another company has announced that they will do the same thing.
There have been several scandals involving large companies’ use of hazardous substances in their products. And these are always very costly affairs. Especially in terms of environmental damage, but also in terms of economy and brand reputation. The latest in the row comes from New York, where the state has sued 3M and five other companies for causing “extensive contamination” to the nearby environment.
Fertility rates have collapsed as a result of environmental pollution and sexually transmitted diseases, and a totalitarian government has forced the few remaining fertile women into child-bearing servitude to ensure the procreation of mankind. This dystopian future is the setting for the popular TV series The Handmaid’s Tale. Even though it is a fictional story, the plot might actually not be so far-fetched as it first appears.
“The EU won’t put up a fight against hazardous chemicals,” seven of Sweden’s most prominent chemical scientists argue in a recently published op-ed (in Swedish). The EU Commission is more concerned about protecting the economic worth of chemicals than protecting…