Chemicals in the E.U.

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Chemicals in the E.U. have been put on notice.

In an effort to reduce chemical pollution, the E.U. published a proposal Monday that could potentially ban up to 12,000 different toxic substances using existing laws. According to The Guardian, chemical pollution “is thought to be pushing whale species to the brink of extinction and has been blamed for declining human fertility rates, and 2 million deaths a year.”

Enter: the E.U.’s new “restrictions roadmap,” which proposes a rolling list of entire classes of chemicals (flame retardants, PVC plastics, etc.). The list will regularly be considered for regulation by the European Chemicals Agency.

Unsurprisingly, the industry is not happy about this, arguing that wide classifications could mean products are banned in which the chemicals allegedly don’t cause harm, like paint and fragrance. But the choice to categorize the chemicals like this could force sneaky industry types from using “regrettable substitution” to sneak their still-harmful substance through regulations.

Perhaps the E.U. has learned from the U.S.’s big oil manipulation story. If the U.S. had blocked out oil executives from shaping climate policy, things might be different today. Stay strong, E.U.!

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