Everyday Chemicals Cause Infertility, Cancer and Birth Defects
ANN CAHILL / Irish Examiner (Ireland) 20jan2005
THE world’s top scientists appealed yesterday for new regulations on everyday chemicals which they say are making 15% of European couples infertile.
They claim they regulations are also causing a quarter of the population to suffer allergies and have tripled birth defects in the past 20 years.
Professor Dominique Belpomme, representing 500 scientists, warned: “Chemical pollution represents a serious threat to children and to man’s survival”.
“Since our own health, that of our children and of future generations is under threat, the human race itself is in serious danger.” The French cancer expert was one of 30 people and organisations putting their case for and against REACH, the proposed new laws on chemicals drawn up by the European Commission.
At present only new chemicals have to be assessed for their effects on people’s health and the environment, which makes up less than 3% of those in everyday use.
The chemicals, used in everything from air fresheners and glues to furniture and ceramics, would have to be tested and registered.
The process would take 11 years and would apply to all chemicals manufactured or imported into the EU in quantities greater than one tonne a year by any single company.
Industry, health, environment and consumer interests as well as governments all agreed during the day-long hearing in the European Parliament that chemicals and their effects should be registered but they disagree on how to do it.
Industry warns the cost of the proposed regulations would force businesses to close with the loss of thousands of jobs and small and medium-sized industry would be particularly hard hit. Chemicals Industry Association director general Judith Hackett said 20% of chemical manufacturers would carry 80% of the costs, with SMEs most affected.
She warned that up to 40% of substances were at risk of being withdrawn from the market because of the cost of testing and registering them.
The commission put the cost of greater control of hazardous chemicals over the next 30 years at €50 billion.
By the end of the hearing there appeared to be general agreement that the substances to be tested first should be those that are most risky. However, the definition of risk was not clear.
MEP Avril Doyle said she supported risk-based assessment as a way to prioritise testing but warned a fast and cost-effective way would have to be found.
The process of introducing the new legislation is likely to take two years.
source: http://www.examiner.ie/pport/web/world/Full_Story/did-sgjzoBRTeTvWcsgadLjt5C321I.asp 30jan2005
Les grands défis de la politique de santé en France et en Europe, D Belpomme, Ecologie et Santé, Editions Librairie de Médicis, France, 2003. Ces maladies créées par l’homme. Comment la dégradation de l’environnement met en péril notre santé, D Belpomme and Bernard Pascuito, 2004.
Prof. Belpomme can be contacted at ARTAC, 57-59 rue de la Convention, 75015, Paris, France email email@example.com, Website www.artac.info