73 EU candidates pledge a toxic-free future ahead of EU elections


Today, chemical pollution is still a persistent menace in the EU. Harmful chemicals, including pesticides, are increasingly present in our food, water, air, soil, products, and even our bodies. The consequences are dire, with numerous health effects such as premature death, illness, infertility, and cognitive impairments. Vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those facing health inequalities, are particularly at risk. In a move to prioritise public health and environmental sustainability, nineteen leading environmental and health organisations have united to call on EU candidates to commit to a toxic-free Europe. This critical Pledge comes just ahead of the upcoming EU elections, with 73 candidates from 23 national parties in 14 countries, including 16 heads of lists, vowing to address the pervasive threat of chemical pollution.

“The EU Parliament has a decisive role to play with the EU Commission and Member States to increase the ambition of measures and pace of their implementation, to work towards a healthy planet for healthy people in the new policy cycle,” HEAL Programme Lead on Health and Chemicals Sandra Jen states.

The Toxic-free Pledge, a collaboration between experts from various health and environmental NGOs, lays out a comprehensive roadmap for the next five years. It details the critical actions we must take to combat harmful chemicals’ significant impact on health and the environment. The Pledge remains open for endorsement.

However, there is still much work to fully complete the ambition of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. With 84% of EU citizens believing that EU environmental legislation is essential and 92% stating that companies should bear the costs of cleaning up pollution, swift action is crucial. This initiative aims to enhance health protection, drive innovation, and transition to safer, sustainable chemicals, ensuring a competitive EU industry.

If elected, candidates promise to advocate for a swift and protective reform of the EU chemicals law REACH  and a phase-out of ‘forever chemicals’ – per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances – PFAS. The candidates will also champion innovation towards safer chemicals, materials, and products. They affirm that polluters must be held accountable and are committed to supporting citizens’ access to justice. The EU must halt the export of chemicals banned in the EU. Thus, increased transparency and traceability of chemicals is pivotal.

“It is time for change. Newly elected MEPs will have a unique opportunity to decisively combat chemical pollution and better protect citizens and future generations. Pollution affects us all, and the path to a toxic-free future begins with the implementation of these seven key priorities,” EEB Chemicals Policy Officer Noémie Jégou states.

As the new 2024-2029 mandate approaches, EU politicians must urgently address widespread pollution and its negative impacts on health and the economy.  The public’s demand for prioritising policies that protect health and the environment is not just crucial; it’s a resounding call that cannot be ignored.

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