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In a letter sent last week, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and 14 national members and partners call on European governments to keep pressing the European Commission to deliver the promised reforms of the REACH and CLP regulations and to support the proposal for a new pesticide reduction law. The timely implementation of these reforms are crucial in order to protect people’s health from harmful chemicals and pesticides. 

Chemical pollution knows no border and urgently addressing it in a coherent way has become a priority for the future of our health, our environment, our economy and societies as a whole. This increasing pollution and continuous exposure is having an impact on our health, our health systems and wider economy. Scientific knowledge about the state of (agri)-chemical pollution keeps piling up and has reached unprecedented levels of concern that require robust and swift political responses. 

Stemming from the European Green Deal, the European Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (October 2020) and the EU Farm to Fork strategy (May 2020) promised strong EU actions to curb the production and use of chemicals harmful to health and minimise people’s exposure for increased disease prevention. Flagship measures included proposals for revisions of the REACH and CLP regulations, two pillars of EU chemicals legislation by end of 2022, and the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUR)

Together these reforms for industrial chemicals and pesticides, if well-crafted, can make significant shifts in the way Europe manages the production and release of chemicals. This would be a groundbreaking opportunity for the EU to be a leader in disease prevention.

Yet, all those reforms have been delayed. Most recently, the European Commission’s decision to postpone the publication of the REACH reform proposal to the fourth quarter of 2023 raises serious doubts that the EU executive realises the extent and urgency of the problem and questions its commitment to its own objectives and work plan under the EU Green Deal.

Any delay to the promised reforms of EU chemicals legislation are a lost opportunity for disease prevention, and therefore not optional. Every day counts when protecting health against toxic chemical pollution. We call on the European Parliament and governments to hold the EU Commission accountable to its promises made in the EU Green Deal and release REACH in early 2023,” says Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director at HEAL.  

HEAL and its members ask national governments to:

  • Urge the European Commission to deliver the promised reforms of the REACH and CLP regulations as soon as possible. These reforms are not optional, but crucial for public health and a healthy economy. 
  • Support the Commission’s proposal for the Regulation for the Sustainable Use of Plants Protection Products (SUR) to help reduce Europe’s much-needed dependence on pesticides.

Click here to read our letter to EU national ministers for Environment, Health and Agriculture.

Click here to read the response to our letter from Mr. Frank Vandenbroucke, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health (8 December 2022).

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