Today’s Solutions: April 21, 2024

From what we now know, the fact that something is convenient doesn’t at all mean it’s safe. Chemical pollution from everyday products is considered responsible for a host of problems from the endangerment of marine life to declining human fertility rates and many other health issues.  

Thankfully, the European Union has unveiled its largest and boldest ban yet to address the problem of dangerous chemicals. 

“Restrictions Roadmap”

On Monday, the EU released its “restrictions roadmap” which uses existing European laws to ban as many as 12,000 substances. The plan aims to eliminate entire classes of chemicals for the first time. In the past, manufacturers have been able to sidestep the outlawing of certain harmful chemicals by using one of a similar class that was still harmful. 

This ban would include flame retardants, bisphenols, PVC plastics, toxic chemicals in single-use napkins, and PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.” Some of these are used in food containment materials and even children’s playground equipment. According to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), this would be the world’s “largest ever ban of toxic chemicals.” 

“The boldest detox”

“EU chemical controls are usually achingly slow but the EU is planning the boldest detox we have ever seen. Petrochemical industry lobbyists are shocked at what is now on the table. It promises to improve the safety of almost all manufactured products and rapidly lower the chemical intensity of our schools, homes, and workplaces,” said Tatiana Santos, the bureau’s chemicals policy manager.

This will require an enormous amount of oversight and transparency, which industries won’t like. While manufacturing industries have advocated for the banning of narrower selections of chemicals, the European Chemicals Agency staunchly stands by banning chemicals in whole classes. This will help prevent the old tactic of sidestepping a single chemical ban and hopefully improve the health of consumers and the planet.

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