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EU Chemicals regulation must protect environment and human health - Bairbre de Brún

14 November, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said she is committed to the promotion of 'strong, progressive, public safety based legislation' regarding the regulation of chemicals in household products. Strong European legislation under the REACH proposals is essential, she said.

The proposed European 'Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals' legislation (REACH) is to be debated by the EU Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday 15th), before being voted upon on Thursday 17th. The Regulation aims to increase the level of knowledge about chemical substances placed on the market and to ensure substances are used safely at all stages in their lifecycle.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"One year ago the WWF conducted a study on the effects of chemicals which exist in some fire-resistant sofas, non-stick pans, grease proof-pizza boxes, flexible PVC, fragrances and pesticides. A number of MEPs volunteered as guinea pigs for the purpose of the test and the results were astounding. The studies had shown an average of 37 chemicals in the blood of the participants.

"In theory, the REACH proposals have the potential to preserve the health of workers and consumers through ensuring the safe use and labelling of such chemicals. I am committed to the promotion of strong, progressive, public safety based legislation which has health and environmental protections at its core.

"Sinn Féin is calling for strong European legislation under the REACH proposals, to protect people and the environment from harmful chemical contamination. However, I fear that a deal which has been reached by the social democrat and conservative groupings in the European Parliament will water down the stronger elements of the proposed legislation." ENDS

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