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HEAL and CHEM Trust joint briefing: How TTIP could harm our health by affecting chemicals regulation

EU-US negotiations on a trade agreement (called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, “TTIP”, or the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, “TAFTA”) have been criticised for their lack of transparency and little involvement of civil society. Concerns have been raised relating the potential weakening of existing standards and democratic procedures.

Protecting the public from toxic chemicals requires government action. The public health impacts linked to toxic chemicals —e.g. cancer, asthma, obesity, diabetes, difficulty conceiving and maintaining pregnancy, and many others—are growing. These disorders and diseases put an enormous strain on health care budgets, and these costs are borne by individuals and public resources, not chemical manufacturers.

In contrast to the weak US federal chemical management system, the European Union (EU) has begun to implement relatively stronger and more systematic policies, with some major trading partners in Asia following the EU’s lead. Even though there are still many gaps in the current EU regulatory system, our EU system, if properly implemented, can secure some tangible health benefits by protecting Europeans from certain toxic chemicals, unlike a systematically flawed US federal system.

This briefing deals with the threat to undermine EU chemicals regulation.

Download the full joint briefing here

Further reading

An in-depth examination of the role of the chemical industry in the negotiations, and their proposals which threaten progress on eliminating toxic chemicals can be found in the Client Earth/CIEL report "Toxic Partnership".

An additional resource is a general two page briefing on TTIP which is for the general reader, and which includes Questions for European politicians wishing to be (re)elected to the European Parliament. “EU-US Free Trade Agreement: A Race Down to the Lowest Common Denominator?”

For more details and to sign on to a joint (multi-sector) statement, please contact

Last updated on 11 April 2014

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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