Toward a toxic-free future

27.09.16 | News
If the EU fails to bring in a ban on the use of endocrine-disrupting phthalates by the end of 2017, the Nordic region should introduce one of its own. This is just one of the tangible recommendations made by the Nordic Council to governments in the region in order to promote a toxic-free everyday environment.

The Nordic Council favours a general EU ban on the four endocrine-disrupting phthalates – DEHP, DBP, BBP and DIBP – in products with which children come into contact. If the EU fails to introduce a general ban by 2017, the proposal is for the Nordic governments to prohibit them from 2019.

Hanna Kosonen (C, Centre Group), chair of the Committee for a Sustainable Nordic Region, sees multiple opportunities for a safer day-to-day environment in the recommendations currently on the table.

“Building materials are one of the major sources of hazardous substances in the air we breathe. As a result, we also recommend that the Nordic governments introduce measures against hazardous chemicals in materials used for walls, floors and ceilings,” she says.

Nordic blacklist

To support and promote the phasing out of unwanted chemicals, the Nordic Council is suggesting that the governments draw up an official black list. Binding national regulations would then oblige importers and manufacturers to provide information about whether their products contain substances on the list.

The Council also recommends that the governments support moves for reforms to ensure that chemicals subject to regulation in EU and EEA countries cannot be imported freely in products from other parts of the world. 

Building materials are one of the major sources of hazardous substances in the air we breathe. As a result, we also recommend that the Nordic governments introduce measures against hazardous chemicals in materials used for walls, floors and ceilings.

Nordic knowledge centre for a toxic-free everyday environment

At Nordic level, the recommendation advocates a knowledge centre for a toxic-free everyday environment, whose job it would be to study substitutes for the hazardous substances that surround us. Regular updates to the criteria for the Nordic eco-label are recommended to make it easier for consumers to choose products that pose no danger to either human health or the natural environment.

The proposals for a toxic-free everyday environment are the result of an extensive process that involved consumer groups, industry and governments discussing Nordic options for working together to do something about unneeded chemicals.

“It’s important that we reached agreement on addressing both the EU and the Nordic governments because progress on chemical regulations at EU level is really slow,” summarises Christian Juhl (EL, the Left-wing Socialist Green Group) of the Nordic Council Welfare Committee.

The Recommendations for a toxic-free everyday environment will be considered during a plenary debate at the Session of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen in November. Appropriate documents will then be sent to the Nordic governments and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Contact information