Hazardous chemicals in everyday products
Newsletter, March 2012
Information on products containing harmful chemicals is unhelpful to consumers
According to EU chemicals law, every consumer has the right to ask whether a product contains Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently released details of products containing SVHCs that have been produced in, or imported into, the European Union, including electric cables, plastic bags, inflatable items and packaging materials. However, the agency’s list provides information only on the type of consumer goods involved; it does not name specific products.
Vito Buonsante, health and environment lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “The information published by ECHA is useless for consumers. European citizens have a right to know about the hazardous chemicals in the products they use, and ECHA’s failure to provide more detailed information frustrates this right. Commercial imperatives must come second to public health.”
To find out more read about it on Bloomberg or in our press release
photo: european parliament
Europe's spending power
In October we released a briefing series, Identifying Opportunities for Sustainable Public Procurement, which showed how the revision of the Public Procurement Directive aims to clarify how the purchasing power of Europe’s public bodies can contribute to sustainable development and environmental protection.
Janet Pritchard was invited to speak on an expert panel to Europe’s parliamentary committee charged with amending the proposal. Other presentations were given by representatives from national procurement authorities, trade unions and academics.
You can read about Janet’s evidence here
Black carbon in the House of Commons
The Environmental Audit Committee, tasked with scrutinising the Government’s performance on environment matters, is holding an inquiry into protecting the Arctic.¬†Even by conservative estimates, the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet and black carbon is playing a significant role. Our air quality lawyer Alan Andrews explained to MPs that reducing black carbon can save lives as well as the Arctic.
Black carbon is a component of particulate matter - microscopic airborne particles that are emitted into the air, mostly from diesel engines. Alan explains: “4,300 Londoners die early each year because of exposure to particulate matter. Cutting black carbon would also have huge benefits for human health, reducing the number of early deaths and chronic disease caused by exposure to black carbon and particulate matter. It is the ultimate “win-win” environmental policy.”
To find out more, read Alan’s blog
photo: decade null
The fight against illegal¬†timber¬†– news of progress
Some of you may remember our role in the ban on illegal timber from the EU market in 2010. This ban was implemented into law via the EU Timber Regulation, which was specifically designed to address the problem of illegal logging from a 'demand-side' perspective by restricting its access to the EU market.
However, our work on the Timber Regulation is far from over. Its full impact was delayed until March 2013, to give time for government, industry and civil society to prepare. This month the European Commission set out rules according to which monitoring organisations, which will develop and maintain due diligence systems that can be used¬†to aid compliance with the Regulation, will be recognised under the law.
ClientEarth lawyer Emily Unwin said: "The Commission has fulfilled its legal mandate in developing these rules, but a number of key questions remain as to the exact detail of responsibilities, timescales and requirements that must be met. In addition the impacts of EU transparency legislation, in particular access to information provisions, are not reflected.”
To find out more read Emily’s blog
Read some of our latest blog posts...
UK implementation of the habitats directive - here
The Heartland Institute scandal - here
Company reporting - here
The common fisheries policy - here
Gender bending chemicals -here