Home ENVIRONMENT ECHA: Historic proposal for protection from chemicals

ECHA: Historic proposal for protection from chemicals

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has just presented a historic proposal to restrict per- and polyfluorinated chemicals, also known as perpetual chemicals (PFAS).

by gary cartwright
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PFAS are synthetic chemicals widely used in everyday life, which accumulate in the environment for a very long period of time and can cause numerous consequences for health, including cancer, liver damage and reduced fertility. They can be found, for example, in food contact materials, textiles, electronics or building products.

ECHA follows the demands of Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway to restrict the use of thousands of synthetic chemicals. The national authorities of these states have been investigating the use and risks of PFAS to humans and the environment for the past three years and submitted a restriction proposal to the EU Chemicals Agency in January.

Jutta Paulus (pictured), pharmacist and expert on chemical policy for the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, comments:  “It is high time that the use of perpetual chemicals, which are harmful to health and the environment, was restricted. The EU Chemicals Agency’s push is an essential step towards a healthy, pollution-free environment.

 “It is impossible to escape from the thousands of perpetual chemicals found in clothing, food packaging and electronics in everyday life. Contaminated soil and contaminated groundwater will affect the health of many generations.

 “The chemical revolution must finally come. The industry needs clear guidelines for sustainable chemicals. Instead, the European Commission is continuing to put off the revision of the EU chemicals regulation REACH promised in the Green Deal.”

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