Friday, February 25, 2005

What? Greenpeace and the chemical industry agree on something

Daily Notebook�:�23-02-2005

Now Here’s a funny a funny thing, here is a funny thing, as sharp-suited UK comedian Max Miller used to say.

Both Cefic, the European Trade Group which represents the Chemicals industry inside the EU, and Greenpeace are united (almost) on one aspect of the recent report on the European Commission's Environment & Health Action Plan 2004-2010.

They agree that it was wrong to single out individual chemicals, as the Rapporteur Frederique Ries has done in the report.

They agree but for different reasons.

Cefic's ire at the report is apparent it 'deplores the use of a list of discriminated chemicals' and criticises a blacklist of substances because it 'sets a dangerous precedent for future policy making by effectively ignoring the established European science based-regulatory process.' The list 'arbitrarily discriminates against individual substances.'

Speaking on the phone yesterday, Greenpeace's Nadia Haiama, a chemicals campaigner based in Brussels, one of the homes of the European Parliament, said the report's adoption was 'definitely great news, especially on phthalates, to see parliament pass such a report. But so long as we focus chemical by chemical we'll not get very far.'

Both Greenpeace and CEFIC want scientific evaluation of the risk of chemicals. Greenpeace believes this approach will give it the ammo to blast whole families of chemicals into oblivion.
Cefic wants it because it thinks this approach will allow for serious issue fudging and will take a long time.

Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship...

For the record: the chemicals named in the report on the Plan are:

Phthalate plasticizers for PVC including DEHP, used in medical devices… and which are of most danger to children in neo-natal intensive care . I’d feel more impact from this argument if it wasn’t tied up with babies.
DINP, DEHP, DBP, DIDP, DNOP and BBP, which the report on the action plan says are harmful to reproduction and development. Perhaps they are, perhaps they aren’t let’s have the evidence from a proper scientific investigation please
Chlorinated Solvents, these are used to make paints, coatings and polymers. Yes but these products aren’t saturated with them.
Lead in Soldering. Ah lead vapour, I inhaled it at my grandfather’s knee as we soldered black-and-white TV sets back together. But, seriously, its probably worth reining in. .
Organophosphate pesticides. Perhaps these are different from nerve-gas-type agents.

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