15 May 2003 00:01 [Source: ICIS news]LONDON (CNI)--Environmental groups said Thursday that over 60 leading independent UK and European scientists have signed a declaration calling for measures to reduce exposure to very persistent and very bioaccumulative chemicals (vPvBs) as well as hormone or endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
The publication of their declaration marks the launch of environment group WWF’s Chemicals and Health Campaign, in partnership with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) and a strategic initiative with The Co-operative Bank.
WWF said in statement that the draft European Union (EU) chemicals legislation, to be the subject of an official Internet consultation by the European Commission (EC), presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure a safer future for wildlife and people.
However, WWF and NFWI are concerned that the draft legislation is weak and will not meet their demands, nor those of the scientists. Both groups are calling for very vPvBs and EDCs to be properly regulated – replaced where safer alternatives exist, or banned where necessary.
The scientists have also gone on record to state that there should be a requirement to use safer alternatives, where available, for both vPvBs and EDCs, said WWF.
Gwynne Lyons, WWF’s toxics science and policy adviser said: “It is illogical to permit the continued use of chemicals that can build up in our bodies, or chemicals that can disrupt our hormones when safer alternatives are available. Yet that is exactly what new draft European legislation is seeking to do. It seems that the costs to health are yet again being sidelined, while industry lobbying for ‘business as usual’ takes centre stage.”
Justin Woolford, WWF’s Chemicals and Health Campaign leader, said : “Unless we tackle the toxic threat now, the future of all our conservation work could be in doubt. We are all part of an uncontrolled global experiment, but with Europe’s chemical review, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the threat. A robust European chemicals regulation will not only bring benefits to the chemical industry, but ensure a safer, healthier future for our children and wildlife."
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