NGOs launch Copenhagen Chemicals Charter

Two leading European NGOs pledged to make safety the number one priority in European chemicals policy, signing the Copenhagen Chemicals Charter in the presence of Environment Commissioner, Margot Walstrom.

At the start of an international conference in Copenhagen ‘Chemicals under the Spotlight’, The European Environment Bureau (EEB) and the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) promised to advance the demands contained in the charter, which include better access to information and phase-out of hazardous and persistent chemicals.

“I hope the Copenhagen Charter will come to be seen as a breakthrough in bringing chemicals under control,” said Anne-Lore Kohne, BEUC President. “It is worrying that so many products we buy contain chemicals that have never been tested for safety. We want to be able to reassure consumers that safety is the top priority. That is why we are 100% behind the Copenhagen Charter.”

The chemicals charter consists of five key demands:

  • a full right to know – including what chemicals are present in products;
  • a deadline by which all chemicals on the market must have had their safety independently assessed;
  • a phase out of persistent chemicals;
  • a requirement to substitute less safe chemicals with safer alternatives;
  • a commitment to stop all releases to the environment of hazardous substances by 2020.

Lone Johnsen, EEB President added, “It is time for the precautionary principle to be applied to chemicals policy and for the burden of proof to be reversed. Chemicals should simply not be allowed on the market unless demonstrated safe beyond reasonable doubt.”

The signatures of the two presidents join those of Christian Ege of the Danish Ecological council, Villy Dyhr of the Danish Consumer council and Finn Bro Rasmussen of the Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature.

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