Monday, 04 July, 2022

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Europe’s ‘Green Deal’ to create toxic-free environment


Determined to achieve its set target of a toxic-free environment, the European Union has unveiled a new chemical strategy.

This is part of the EU’s much touted ‘Green Deal,’ which is aimed at ensuring zero carbons emission by 2050.

The Strategy will boost innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals, and increase protection of human health and the environment against hazardous chemicals.

Chemicals Strategy fully recognises the fundamental role of chemicals for human well-being and for the green and digital transition of European economy and society. At the same time it acknowledges the urgent need to address the health and environmental challenges caused by the most harmful chemicals. In this spirit, the Strategy sets out concrete actions to make chemicals safe and sustainable by design and to ensure that chemicals can deliver all their benefits without harming the planet and current and future generations. This includes ensuring that the most harmful chemicals for human health and the environment are avoided for non-essential societal use, in particular in consumer products and with regard to most vulnerable groups, but also that all chemicals are used more safely and sustainably.

EU Statement

For the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius, the chemical strategy represents a game-changer in the well-being of Europeans.

“We owe our well-being and high living standards to the many useful chemicals that people have invented over the past 100 years. However, we cannot close our eyes to the harm that hazardous chemicals pose to our environment and health. We have come a long way regulating chemicals in the EU, and with this Strategy we want to build on our achievements and go further to prevent the most dangerous chemicals from entering into the environment and our bodies, and affecting especially the most fragile and vulnerable ones.”

Virginijus Sinkevicius, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

History

In 2018, Europe was the second biggest producer of chemicals (accounting for 16.9% of sales).

Chemical manufacturing is the fourth largest industry in the EU, directly employing approximately 1.2 million people. 59% of chemicals produced are directly supplied to other sectors, incl. health, construction, automotive, electronics, and textiles.

Global chemicals production is expected to double by 2030, and the already widespread use of chemicals is likely to also increase, including in consumer products.