The EU chemicals strategy for sustainability – one year on


We are facing a chemical pollution crisis: a cocktail of synthetic chemicals in hundreds of everyday products is putting human health and wildlife at risk.

While the EU’s chemical legislation REACH is world-leading, it has been too slow in identifying and regulating the most hazardous chemicals. There are also gaps in the way that the EU regulates chemicals in some product areas, such as food packaging, and EU laws do not properly address the reality that we are constantly exposed to mixtures of chemicals, not just one chemical at a time.

The EU’s Green Deal, launched in December 2019, set out to achieve a toxic-free environment, with the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), presented on 14th October 2020, providing a detailed strategy for implementing this vision. The CSS promises to remove endocrine disrupting and other hazardous chemicals from everyday products, such as toys and food contact materials, and put forward 56 actions to achieve a non-toxic environment. The EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius has committed to ‘make pollution a thing of the past’.

CHEM Trust’s priorities

CHEM Trust were very supportive of the proposals made in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, and over the last year we have been involved in many processes to help move this strategy forward.

We are calling for a ban of the most hazardous chemicals in consumer products by 2030 and therefore our key priorities include:

(i) Accelerating identification and control of endocrine disrupting chemicals and those substances that stick around in the environment – those that are persistent, mobile and toxic or very persistent and very mobile, like the PFAS ‘forever chemicals’.

(ii) adding in a Mixtures Assessment Factor in EU risk assessments to reflect the reality that we are all exposed to mixtures of chemicals, not single substances

(iii) widening the range of uses where the most hazardous chemicals are not permitted to be present, including in food contact materials and other consumer products

(iv) implementing the ‘grouping approach’, addressing chemicals in groups rather than one at a time in order to speed up controls and prevent regrettable substitution with chemicals with similar hazard properties.

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~sChemtrust, 7 October 2021