EU chemicals strategy aims to help deliver toxic-free environment

Submitted by Lee Gibson on 19 October 2020

The European Commission has adopted the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability as it seeks to achieve the zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment announced in the European Green Deal.

The Strategy aims to boost innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals and increase the protection of human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals.

This includes prohibiting the use of the most harmful chemicals in consumer products (such as toys, childcare articles, cosmetics, detergents, food contact materials, and textiles), unless proven essential for society, and ensuring that all chemicals are used more safely and sustainably.

The chemicals strategy recognises the fundamental role of chemicals in our lives, but at the same time acknowledges the urgent need to address the health and environmental challenges caused by the most harmful ones.

It sets out concrete actions to make chemicals safe and sustainable by design, and to ensure that their benefits are harnessed without harming the planet as well as current and future generations. Several innovation and investment actions will be foreseen to support the chemicals industry through this transition. 

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “Chemicals are part and parcel of our daily life, and they allow us to develop innovative solutions for greening our economy.

"But we need to make sure that chemicals are produced and used in a way that does not hurt human health and the environment. It is especially important to stop using the most harmful chemicals in consumer products; from toys and childcare products to textiles and materials that come in contact with our food.”

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, said: “We owe our well-being and high living standards to the many useful chemicals that people have invented over the past 100 years. However, we cannot close our eyes to the harm that hazardous chemicals pose to our environment and health.

"We have come a long way regulating chemicals in the European Union and, with this strategy, we want to build on our achievements and go further to prevent the most dangerous chemicals from entering into the environment and our bodies, and affecting especially the most fragile and vulnerable ones.”

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