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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Toxic chemicals to pollute Europeans for another generation (Greenpeace EU pressdesk)

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Brussels, 31 January 2011 ˆ *A review of chemical laws announced today will
allow continuing toxic contamination of European lakes and rivers linked to
serious human illnesses. The European Commission has dodged its
responsibilities for over a decade and is allowing some of the most
dangerous chemicals to continue polluting for a generation, said Greenpeace.

Today‚s European Commission proposal to amend existing water legislation
[1] makes progress on the monitoring of harmful chemicals and for the first
time targets pharmaceutical ingredients, such as those used in

But the Commission fails to set out clear timetables to phase out the most
dangerous chemicals, despite explicit legal requirements agreed since 2000
[2]. It is adding only 15 new chemicals from a list of 2,000 potentially
dangerous substances that should be monitored and reduced. But the
Commission wants to allow the most dangerous of these chemicals to continue
polluting waterways for 20 years.

*Greenpeace EU chemicals policy director Kevin Stairs said: **„It‚s been 12
years since lawmakers agreed to phase out the most dangerous chemicals from
our water - chemicals linked to serious human illnesses and toxic
contamination of rivers and lakes. Since then, the Commission has
systematically dodged its responsibility to set concrete plans to rid our
water of these known poisons and would instead allow them to contaminate
yet another generation.‰*

The EU proposal will now be debated by the European Parliament and EU
governments. The revision process is expected to be completed by the end of
the year.

Last year, Nike, Puma, Adidas and other global sportswear brands agreed to
phase out toxic chemicals from their supply chain by 2020, the direct
result of a successful Greenpeace campaign [3]. The companies agreed to put
in place action plans and a timetable to phase out chemicals that end up in


*Notes to editors:*
[1] Water Framework Directive and Environmental Quality Standards
[2] Water Framework Directive. Article 16, paragraph 6 reads: „The
commission shall submit proposals of controls for∑the cessation or phasing
out of discharges∑of the substances∑including an appropriate timetable for
doing so.‰
[3] Dirty Laundry report:

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