14 July 1998
Chemicals industry launches safety drive

CHEMICAL producers plan to identify and restrict dangerous chemicals in a bid to prevent far-reaching European Union (EU) legislation on the issue.

Last week, the industry launched a programme called Confidence in Chemicals to address public fears about the use of chemicals. The industry undertook this move out of frustration; the EU was suppose to introduce a programme to test and control manufactured chemicals more than six years ago.

The change of heart from industry comes amid mounting public concern over the safety of phthalate plasticisers used in soft PVC toys, organophosphates in agricultural chemicals and other chemicals blamed for range of human fertility problems.

The European regulatory framework put in place in 1992 to test and control potentially hazardous chemicals has yet to produce a result. The European Commission has identified 120 priority chemicals for testing, but not one has emerged from the testing process.

  • Financial Times 14/07/98 page 11