Denmark calls for action on dangerous chemicals
The Danish Government has called for intensified international co-operation, strengthened national and international legislation, extended industry responsibility, and more consumer information, in a recently published Strategy on Chemicals.
“The use of chemical substances is growing violently – solving some problems but creating others. Often the environment and health aspects of the substances are uncertain, or even problematic, and efforts are needed on many fronts: international co-operation must be intensified, the responsibility of the chemical industry must be extended, national regulatory and supervisory tools shall be strengthened, sanctions shall be stricter, the consumers shall be better informed. The Danish Government initiative addresses all these issues.
Intensified common EU efforts are urgently needed”, said Minister for Environment and Energy, Svend Auken.
Key elements of the strategy include:
- Phasing out the use of problematic chemicals
- Strengthening of supervision and manufacturers’ responsibility, improved access to information
Strengthening of EU regulation and setting up a coherent, simplified, more efficient and speedy EU assessment procedure
- Strengthening of Danish efforts to secure efficient global regulation of chemicals
- Danish environmental assistance to contribute to strengthening other countries’ competence in the field of chemicals
The Danish Government advocates wider use of the precautionary principle at EU level, and an acceleration of EU risk assessment procedures. It also proposes fixing a date – e.g. year 2005 – after which existing substances which have not been assessed at EU level would be considered as new substances and therefore be subject to a notification procedure prior to use.
The Chemicals Strategy will be implemented through a number of national initiatives, along the lines of the planned regulation of phthalates in toys, lead, antifouling agents and indoor paints containing solvents, and the draft amendment of the Chemical Substances and Products Act.
The Strategy will be followed by a phthalate action plan, PVC investigations, investigations on children and chemicals, and a Committee Report (the Bichel Committee) on pesticide-free agriculture, which will be presented within the next six months.
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