NGOs call for action on hormone chemicals

Coalition of UK groups demands positive chemical licensing system, producer liability

"Immediate action" is needed to reduce risks from hormone disrupting chemicals to humans and the environment, a coalition of UK environmental groups said today in a joint position paper. Adopted alongside a conference held in London to raise public awareness of risks from hormone, or endocrine, disrupting substances, the paper calls for a "positive" chemicals licensing system to be introduced. Under this, all chemicals would have to be demonstrated to be safe beyond reasonable doubt before being licensed by the authorities. The groups added that where chemicals are shown to be persistent in the environment or to bioaccumulate in food chains then emissions should be phased out. Signed by eight NGOs, including the UK offices of Friends of the Earth, the World Wide Fund for Nature and Greenpeace, the statement also calls for liability for effects of chemicals to be borne by their producers. The groups urge the UK government to respect an international agreement made this summer by parties to the Ospar convention that discharges of synthetic hazardous substances to the marine environment should be ended by 2020 (ENDS Daily 23 July).

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