Category Archives: News

New CHEM Trust materials on forthcoming EU chemicals policy developments

Campaign partner CHEM Trust has recently written two policy papers relating to forthcoming EU chemcials policy developments. One of the papers discusses the regulation of chemicals on Hazard versus Risk basis, while the other is a compiled list of the numerous scientific statements that have been produced since 1991 (Wingspread 1 – Consensus Statement on EDCs) to 2013 (the exchange of views published by different groups of scientist concerning EU regulation of EDCs).

You can download the papers here:

HAZARD VERSUS RISK within the context of the current debate on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) management in the EU, November 2013

CHEM Trust overview of Key Scientific Statements on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) 1991-2013, as of Dec 2013. 

You can take a look at more policy statements and papers from CHEM Trust here http://www.chemtrust.org.uk/policy-statements/

Post provided by campaign partner CHEM Trust

Online petition: Ban BPA from food contact material

BPACampaign partner Vivosano call for a national standard to be drafted to prevent any material, packaging or container intended to be in contact with food to contain bisphenol A (BPA). This should be done at the earliest possible and applying the precautionary principle, as has been done in other countries of the EU. This means a ban on their use, trade, export and import.

You can sign the petition here

More information about Bisphenol A is available on the campaign website of Vivosano called Hogar sin tóxicos http://www.hogarsintoxicos.org/es/actua/campana-para-retirar-bisfenol (this website will soon be available in English)

Post provided by campaign partner Vivosano

Press release: Europe should act on BPA following health cost-tag calculation

Press release available in EN - FR - DE

Brussels, 23 January 2014 – The European Union should phase out the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials following yesterday’s publication of first-ever estimates of associated health costs published today, says campaign secretariat the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). 

A US study published in Health Affairs (1) says that removing BPA from ‘food uses’ might prevent 6,236 cases of childhood obesity and 22,350 cases of newly incident coronary heart disease per year in the US, with potential annual economic benefits of US$1.74 billion (€1.28 billion). (2)

BPA is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and the linings of aluminium food and drink cans. It is widely considered to have endocrine disrupting effects but has not yet been officially classified as such in the European chemicals classification system.

The study draws on a health costs study from 2008 on BPA and on new US approaches to “dose-response” calculations.(1) The actual health costs associated with BPA may be even greater, as this study only included obesity and coronary heart disease linked with exposure to food contact materials. BPA is a chemical that is produced at above a million tons per annum globally, and is used in a wide variety of applications, including pesticides and consumer plastics. (3)

Evidence has been mounting that BPA may have adverse health consequences for reproduction, the nervous system, the immune system, and for cancer risks (e.g. breast cancer), as well as for the metabolic and cardiovascular systems. Both the European Commission and the US have banned BPA from baby bottles but they have not taken regulatory action on other food contact materials—that is, uses in food and beverage containers.

The authors of the new study say that although more data are needed, these potentially large health and economic benefits could outweigh the costs of using a safer substitute for BPA.

HEAL believes that this new study should prompt a re-think by the European Commission across all the different legal regimes governing BPA use (such as REACH, Food Contact Materials, and Pesticides).

The EU is currently trying to decide how to regulate hormone disruptors, and BPA is one of the major chemicals of concern,” says Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director of HEAL. “This study is exactly the kind of analysis we want to see in the upcoming impact assessment on EDC criteria, as we need to have a comprehensive assessment of the health benefits. While the planned impact assessment is nominally about pesticides, we know that peoples’ exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals come from multiple sources and can add up in their bodies to produce harmful effects. So costs of health impacts from different sources are relevant.”

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has just launched a public consultation on the basis of its recently completed draft assessment of human health risks of exposure to BPA. (4) The draft assessment concludes that possible effects on reproductive, nervous, immune, metabolic and cardiovascular systems, as well as in the development of cancer are unlikely.

HEAL member in France, Reseau Environnement Sante (RES) responded that although EFSA has revised the daily tolerable exposure level downward, it continues to deny most of the published scientific research on BPA.

“Ninety-five per cent of 900 published studies on the toxicity of bisphenol A show positive results,” says André Cicolella, toxicologist and president of RES. “While EFSA acknowledges the emergence of new evidence of the effects of BPA on reproduction, metabolism, immune and cardiovascular effects and neuro-developmental system, with a sleight of hand, these effects are not identified as relevant.”(5)

HEAL and other health and environment groups, such as CHEM Trust in the UK, are concerned that during this time of economic recession, regulatory bodies are taking a short-term economic view and are not willing to impose regulatory costs on industry.

“This is a blinkered approach because, if all the potential health gains from tighter regulation of BPA were taken into account, costs to industry would likely be outstripped by the potential health-care savings,” says Elizabeth Salter Green of CHEM Trust.

It is the ‘true’ and total costs of society’s exposure to BPA and other hormone disrupting chemicals that need to be considered during decisions on regulation, she adds.

HEAL is part of a coalition of health and environment groups, known as EDC-Free Europe (6), which advocates for health, social and economic advantages as a whole to be fully considered in the EU decisions on regulatory measures for EDCs. This would put the investment costs for some companies to develop and use safer substitutes into a broader societal perspective.

END

Contacts

Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), E-mail: genon@env-health.org, Mobile phone: + 32 495 808732

Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Advisor, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), E-mail: lisette@env-health.org, Tel: +32 2 234 36 45. Mobile: +32 484 614 528

Diana Smith, Communications and Media Adviser, Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL), E-mail: diana@env-health.org, Mobile: +33 6 33 04 2943

Notes

1. The paper, “Further limiting bisphenol A in food uses could provide health and economic benefits,” will be published online in Health Affairs on January 22 at 22.00 CET: http://content.healthaffairs.org/lookup/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0686 The study takes a 2008 assessment which showed that BPA exposure was estimated to be associated with 12,404 cases of childhood obesity and 33,863 cases of newly incident coronary heart disease, with estimated social costs of $2.98 billion.

2. The sensitivity analysis shows a range $889 million–$13.8 billion per year

3. Although food is a major source of BPA exposure, dental sealants and thermal copy paper are also sources of exposure.

4. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): Bisphenol A: EFSA consults on assessment of risk to the human health

5. Press Release, Reseau Environnement Sante, 17 January 2014 http://reseau-environnement-sante.fr/

6. EDC-Free Europe is a coalition of public interest groups representing more than 31 organisations across Europe has come together through a concern about endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and efforts to raise public awareness and urge quicker governmental action. More at: www.edc-free-europe.org

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

Sign the petition! Switch to a higher state of alert and prevention to reduce health and environmental risks of pesticides

Appel de Montpellier: Passer à un niveau supérieur d’alerte et de prévention pour limiter les risques sanitaires et écologiques des pesticides

Call of Action from Montpellier: Switch to a higher state of alert and prevention to reduce health and environmental risks of pesticides

Appel de Montpellier: Passer à un niveau supérieur d’alerte et de prévention pour limiter les risques sanitaires et écologiques des pesticides

You can sign the petition here via change.org

Recent biomonitoring studies show that traces of many pesticides are found not only in the vicinity of spreading areas, but also in the vast majority of fruits and vegetables on our plates, in groundwater, water catchments and in the indoor air at concentrations of particular concern.

The cocktail effect of these substances is still insufficiently documented , but important for a number of associations with endocrine or cancerous diseases .

It is necessary to raise public awareness of the health and environmental risks of pesticides, especially for vulnerable groups. We should take into account the occupational risk , the risk of exposure to local residents and the general population.

This petition calls on the health and food safety authorities to move to a higher state of alert and ensure that the public are aware of the health and environmental risks of pesticides. It also calls for alternatives to pesticides including alternative methods of bio control or wherever possible, eliminate the use of pesticides. Organic agriculture and agroecology should therefore benefit from strong regulatory and fiscal mechanisms.

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

Once upon a time… The Little Monsters are out!

GP little monsters‘Once upon a time in a kingdom-not-so-far away, workers in giant factories were busy making children’s clothes. Away from prying eyes, the workers were forced to use hazardous Little Monsters to help print and dye the garments’.

A new investigation by campaign partner Greenpeace International has found a broad range of hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing and footwear across a number of major clothing brands, including fast fashion, sportswear and luxury brands.

The study follows on from several previous investigations published by Greenpeace as part of its Detox campaign, which identified that hazardous chemicals are present in textile and leather products as a result of their use during manufacture. It confirms that the use of hazardous chemicals is still widespread – even during the manufacture of clothes for children and infants.

A total of 82 children’s textile products were purchased in May and June 2013 in 25 countries/regions worldwide from flagship stores, or from other authorised retailers. They were manufactured in at least twelve different countries/regions.

The products were sent to the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter (UK), where they were dispatched to independent accredited laboratories. All products were investigated for the presence of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs); certain products were also analysed for phthalates, organotins, per/poly-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs), or antimony, where the analysis was relevant for the type of product. The analysis for antimony was carried out at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories.

All the hazardous chemicals mentioned above were detected in various products, above the technical limits of detection used in this study. Despite the fact that all the products purchased were for children and infants, there was no significant difference between the range and levels of hazardous chemicals found in this study compared to previous studies analysing those chemicals.

For more information and a call for action, please check our Little Monsters page here: http://www.greenpeace.org/littlemonsters

Download A Little Story About the Monsters In Your Closet.

Download the accompanying Technical Report.

Here you can read a blog from Dr. Nadia Haiama of Greenpeace International: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/toxic-chemicals-childrens-clothing/blog/47866/

Post provided by campaign partner Greenpeace International

CHE call 8 January 2014: Endocrine Disruption and Immune Dysfunction

On 8 January Dr. Rodney Dietert a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell University discussed on a call set up by the Collaborative on Health and Environment (CHE) how the immune system is a target for EDCs, particularly during development. Numerous relatively ‘hidden’ effects can ensue from a single risk factor and emerge over a lifetime.

Below is a link to the MP3 recording from Dr. Rodney Dietert. His presentation was insightful into how mis-regulated information is at the heart of many EDC effects. Current safety testing fails to appropriately assess mis-regulated inflammation as the greatest immune based health risk.

http://www.healthandenvironment.org/partnership_calls/13389

Here you can RSVP to the call on 19 February focusing on endocrine disruption and the neuro-immune interface http://www.healthandenvironment.org/partnership_calls/13590

Post provided by campaign supporter TEDX

WECF & Project Nesting: Dutch TV Program Zembla on EDCs and their great risk to children

For many years WECF has been raising attention of the harmful effects of EDCs on children’s health – a risk which has led many European countries to press forward with legislation and information targeted at consumers and pregnant women in particular – but not in the Netherlands.

The development of a baby can be irreversibly harmed by EDCs, and there is growing evidence that these chemicals may result in permanent health damage to the hormone system of the baby. Pregnant women are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis, often transferring the chemicals to the child.

A Dutch TV program ZEMBLA recently travelled to Denmark for its documentary on EDCs (initiated by WECF), where the Danish government has implemented legal measures and public campaigns to inform pregnant women how to avoid EDCs. Endocrine disruptors have been high on the Danish political agenda for years. To protect public health, the Danish government tries to ban these substances from consumer products. Other European countries such as Sweden, France and Belgium are also taking action.

During the documentary Dutch scientists and paediatricians talk about their sincere concern of the effects on EDCs on pre and post natal development. The problem is underestimated by the Dutch government and economic interests are given priority over public health. The Dutch Minster of Health and the RIVM organisation refused to answer questions from the ZEMBLA team.

The Zembla Program can be watched here (in Dutch).

The English translation of the Zembla program can be downloaded here.

After the documentary was aired, an open letter by WECF, Pesticides Action Network Europe (PAN-E) and Foundation Ecobaby was sent to the Minster of Health and the Secretaries of State of Environment and Economic Affairs in the Netherlands asking them why the Dutch government fails to protect vulnerable groups against chemicals of concern such as EDCs. The letter presented 9 urgent policy measures that the Dutch government should take to protect children from endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Post provided by campaign partner WECF

EWG’s Skin Deep has gone mobile!

EWG smart phone appWhen you shop, you deserve to have information about the safety of your moisturizers, shampoos and more at your fingertips, so the Environmental Working Group has created a robust, easy-to-use mobile app to do just that.

Get EWG’s Skin Deep mobile app today!

Click here to download it from the iTunes App store.

Click here to download it from the Android App store.

EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is the world’s largest safety guide to personal care products. The app was launched to provide easy-to-navigate safety ratings on the phone while shopping. The app has information and online safety assessments for more than 74,000 personal care products, 2,400 brands and 9,000 ingredients, culled from product labels and from scientific and industry literature.

Post provide by campaign secretariat HEAL and the Environmental Working Group