New EU chemicals strategy to better protect our health and the environment

Further protection for children, pregnant women and the elderly is needed, said the European Parliament which has also called for new provisions on endocrine disruptors for toys, food contact materials and cosmetics

On Monday, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee adopted a resolution by 65 votes to 1 and 14 abstentions, calling on the European Commission to come up with a new chemicals strategy for sustainability that effectively ensures a high level of protection of health and the environment, minimising exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The resolution adopted says that further regulatory measures are needed to adequately protect vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly.

The European Parliament  new chemicals strategy must fully reflect the precautionary principle and the polluter-pays principle, as well as being more transparent during the approval process. It should also encourage safe and sustainable alternatives to be developed in a competitive way, including through a clear commitment to securing funds for research.

MEPs believe there is a need to support the ‘one substance – one hazard assessment’ principle, to allow substances to be reviewed by only one EU agency to speed up and make chemicals regulation more consistent.

Encourage green innovation and end toxic recycling

MEPs have also called on the Commission to develop EU criteria for Sustainable Chemicals to provide incentives for sustainable chemistry, materials and technologies, especially non-chemical alternatives that are safe. MEPs also underlined that there are harmful chemicals in recycled products and therefore call for the same rules that apply to new products to apply to recycled materials. The EU must also minimise and progressively replace animal testing through expanded use of new approach methodologies and intelligent testing strategies.