Today, Arnika handed over to Czech Members of the European Parliament (EP) the petition, Toxics Free Future II, which has been signed, as of yet, by 13,686 signatories. The petition requires that the new chemical legislation of the EU (so-called REACH) sufficiently protect health of citizens from impact of hazardous chemical substances.
REACH unifies rules for chemical substances which are already on the market, as well as for the ones which are only being introduced to the market. It introduces a system of registration of all chemical substances produced in the amount exceeding 1 tonne per year. According to the produced amounts, or the level of possible hazardousness, a part of chemical substances then will have to be assessed from the point of view of their impacts. If it shows that the substance in question is harmful, then its use should not be approved.
The Members of the European Parliament will decide on the new chemical legislation in the first reading on November 17. Arnika, together with other European non-governmental organisations, wants the Members of Parliament to put through, during discussions on REACH, the following measures:
Obligatory substitution of hazardous chemical substances with safer alternatives;
Obligation of producers to provide consumers with a complete list of chemical substances contained in the product;
Ban of use and distribution of substances in the case of which the required data were not submitted;
Validity of the same rules for substances in imported products;
Raising of information requirements for registration of substances in the volume of 1 - 10 tonnes per year. Without sufficient information on properties of these substances, their classification is not possible. Yet it concerns a high number of substances - about 20 000. This represents, at least, a half of substances which would be subject to the process of registration according to REACH.
„Approximately 100,000 chemical substances are now being used in Europe, and in the case of 90% of them we do not know their impacts on human health and the environment. For registration of these substances, it is necessary to obtain the highest possible amount of information necessary for their assessment. It is the only way of prevention of the situations like in the case of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were commonly used as additives into lipsticks before their serious health impacts were found,“ explains the purpose of the Arnika's requirements Petr Hrdina, MSc.
However, according to him, mere information is being far from sufficient. „For practical protection of human health, it is necessary that industrial companies be obliged to substitute toxic or potentially hazardous substances by safe alternatives, where they exist. This applies, among others, to often discussed phthalates or certain brominated flame retardants,“ added Hrdina.