Last March, the European Commission adopted the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child. This new strategy – covering a time period from 2021 to 2024 - aims to provide a comprehensive policy framework for children’s rights, bringing all existing and future EU actions and policies on children’s rights under one single umbrella. The ambition set is to “build the best possible life for children in the European Union and across the globe”.
Among the many fundamental rights of the child addressed by the strategy is the right to live in a clean and healthy planet, and to enjoy and respect the natural environment. Protecting children and future parents against exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), is a corner stone to deliver on this promise.
The urgent need to protect children against exposure to hazardous chemicals has likewise been widely acknowledged in recent UN reports and resolutions, including in the Human Rights Council Resolution 45/30 on the realisation of the rights of the child through a healthy environment. In this resolution, the UN “urges States to ensure the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, by inter alia: [...] Identifying and eliminating sources of exposure of children to indoor and outdoor air pollution and substances of high concern, such as heavy metals and endocrine disrupting chemicals”.
Many partners of the EDC-Free Europe coalition are continuously drawing the attention of EU and national decision makers to the need to pay particular attention to children’s exposure to harmful chemicals such as EDCs, especially when drawing up plans to implement potentially game-changing EU initiatives such as the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, the Farm to Fork Strategy, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the forthcoming Zero Pollution Action Plan. EDC-Free Europe campaign partner the Child’s Rights International Network (CRIN), for example, provides a children’s rights perspective on environmental issues, including toxic chemicals.