EU Publishes New Chemicals Strategy

In mid-October, the EU Commission approved its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment and issued a related press release. The contents of the strategy are an important building block of the European Green Deal.

The most important measures planned include the following: 

  • Banning the most-harmful chemicals in consumer products, including endocrine disruptors and chemicals that impair the immune system and respiratory tract; Ensuring that use is permitted only when the chemical is indispensable.
  • Taking the cocktail effect, the combined effects of several chemicals, into consideration in risk assessment.
  • Stopping the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the EU step by step if they are not indispensable.
  • Simplifying the process of assessing the hazards and risks of chemicals according to the principle of “one substance, one assessment”. 

In a press release, Frans Timmermans, executive vice president responsible for the European Green Deal, said that the chemicals strategy is the first step towards the EU’s goal of zero pollution. He added that an important goal is not to use hazardous chemicals any longer in consumer products like toys, childcare items, textiles, and materials that come into contact with food.

The results of a survey of the EU population are an important driver of the approval of the strategy. Nine of ten of those surveyed were concerned about the effects of chemicals on the environment, and eight of ten were concerned about their health.

That’s why the chemicals strategy has such wide implications: 59% of production flows into other sectors, like the healthcare, construction, automobile, electronic, and textile industries. With a revenue share of 16.9%, Europe is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of chemicals.

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