An action plan requiring Norway's commercial sector to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals has been announced by the environment ministry. Removal of endocrine disrupters, mercury, cadmium, lead and chlorine-based solvents from the workplace and the environment will be the top priority, environment minister Guro Fjellanger said. Enforcement of existing national regulations and international agreements will be sharpened, and new legislation introduced where necessary. "The commercial sector must take more responsibility for reducing risks inherent in the use of hazardous chemicals," Ms Fjellanger added. She said a list of mandatory substitutes would be compiled, alongside one of chemicals "against which consumers should be especially on their guard." The commercial sector is also to be made responsible for ensuring that consumers get access to information on the risks and necessary safeguards involved in the use of hazardous chemicals, and on safer alternatives. The government wi ll help fund the development of open data bases containing such information, including environmental declarations, according to recommendations made earlier this year. (ENDS Daily 6 May). * Meanwhile, Ms Fjellanger announced that the Norwegian ban on the production, distribution, import and export of toys and other products aimed at children aged under three and containing phthalate plasticisers notified to the EU earlier this year has now taken effect (ENDS Daily 22 March). Seven other European countries have introduced or are in process of introducing similar bans (ENDS Daily 26 July).
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