Philip Booth, a Gloucestershire Green party spokesperson said: "Our lives are full of chemicals - in toys, computers, carpets, clothes, furniture, washing powders and more. Some chemicals are known to be toxic, while others we know very little about. Many chemicals are building up in our environment, the human body and are even passed to unborn children. Evidence suggests that some of these chemicals cause cancers, birth defects and other long-term problems."
Philip Booth added: "After years of failing to protect us, governments are finally waking up to these dangers. Research estimates it could save over £180 billion in health expenditure. However the chemicals industry with the help of the current US government, has led an extraordinary campaign to undermine and weaken this legislation aimed at phasing out all known 'very high concern' chemicals and labeling when they are present."
Philip Booth said: "It is deeply worrying that our Labour, Tory and UKIP MEPs in the South-west could end up toeing the corporate line rather than protecting consumers and the environment. I would urge people to write to their MEPs to express their concerns. We need this legislation passed."
The European Parliament will be voting on the chemical law (known as REACH) on 16 November 2005 (ii). This vote will be hugely important for the future shape of the law. While one fifth of the UK's MEPs and one third of Europe's MEPs have promised to vote for safer chemicals during and after the election, the rest have not made clear how they will vote.
(i) The pledge was circulated during the election last year by the European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace (or a local environmental NGO). Liberal Democrat Graham Watson was the only MEP in the SW to sign the pledge despite letters and emails to other MEPs. Send MEPS an email at:
Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace have are campaigning for tougher legislation. You can send a digital image of yourself and your family to support their campaign by going to: http://chemicalreaction.org.uk/
(ii) Legislation has already passed the European Parliament’s Environment Committee: