Regulating the chemical monsters: a message from Ruth Luschnat in Berlin

Today one can read in the newspaper Taz that yesterday the EU Environment Board decided to withstand the pressure of the chemical industry to lighten up the proposed regulation for permission to produce chemicals, REACH, that will be passed next year.
Chemical companies will have to undergo an environmental test of the substances they produce and sell in their products, since many of them might prove a danger to the environment and/or health. Each substance must be proven harmless, or in many cases be replaced by new sustainable alternatives (plastic sacs made out of tomatoes etc), before permission to produce can be granted.
Thus the first step has been succesfully taken, since the industry had demanded that production of up to 100 tons a year should be passed without much control. This would have reduced the number of substances newly to be investigated, and approved for production or continued production under REACH, to a very much smaller list.
The EU Environmental Board has decided to lighten the tests only for substances with a production of under 10 tons per year. But REACH is still not in place. The next step is the EU parliament, which has to decide upon REACH in mid November.
In this respect it links to the issue of the EU-India resolution with demands from all over the globe that EU parlamentarians make a strong statement for a rigid REACH and that such regulations should be implemented also in other continents, so that chemical producers can never again create situations like that which made the Bhopal disaster possible.
See therefore, the article that Tim forwarded (below). Among his links to the EU-India resolution you find one to an aritcle from the US about breast cancer and the chemo-pharma causes for it.
greetings from Berlin
“The resolution notes that twenty years after the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, the site has still not been cleaned up and calls on the Indian authorities and on Dow Chemicals to clean up the toxic waste immediately.”

EU: Parliament calls for closer EU-India relations
The European Parliament is calling for far greater cooperation
between the EU and India. MEPs adopted a report by Emilio MENÉNDEZ DE
VALLE (PES, ES) , which champions the Commission’s plans for a new
strategic partnership. They are calling for extra funding for its
Parliament notes that the USA has aspirations for a strategic alliance
with India and that China and India are also expanding their relations. It makes a number of specific recommendations to strengthen the ties with India, but also raises a number of issues of concern.
The report calls on the EU and India to jointly tackle aspects of
industrial, environmental and development cooperation, trade, investment and good governance. It voices alarm at UNICEF reports that seventeen and a half million children are working in India, “mostly in subhuman conditions”. More generally, MEPs urge India to update its labour laws to prevent the exploitation of workers. The EU should work together with the Indian government to improve the situation of underprivileged people, in particular women, children and disadvantaged groups, e.g. Dalits and Adivasis.
Another cause for concern is the increasing environmental destruction
and MEPs urge India to show greater sensitivity to the question of
global warming, while pursuing its development needs. The “alarming drop in the number of tigers” merits special mention. The resolution notes that twenty years after the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, the site has still not been cleaned up and calls on the Indian authorities and on Dow Chemicals to clean up the toxic waste immediately. MEPs also urge India to allow derogations from restrictions on the manufacture of generic drugs for medicines such as those against AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis and cancer.
Parliament recommends systematic EU-India consultation in advance of
international meetings or conferences and establishing permanent links
to secure “balanced and mutually beneficial progress on the main points of the Doha Develoment Agenda”. MEPs also call on the Indian government to take firm action against the dumping of trade goods on the EU.
Datos de Contacto :
Contact: Marjory VAN DEN BROEKE Press Room Unit – Press Officer E-mail
address : Telephone number in Strasbourg : (32) 2 28 44304 (STR) Mobile number : (32) 0498 98 3586

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