Under European law we are currently protected by the best chemicals regulation in the world. When we leave the EU we risk losing this protection which has benefitted our health, our wildlife and our environment for decades. European environment and chemicals laws are underpinned by principles which serve to protect health and environment – protection which British civil society has helped shape. Through Brexit we are threatened with losing this vital protection. As it stands, the current EU withdrawal bill does not mention health, environment or women.
Some progressive MPs are taking action to ensure that our health and environment are as protected as business interests. They are tabling amendments to the EU withdrawal bill which will add health and environmental protection to the bill. Right now we need to support those MPs and their amendments as well as calling on our own MPs to voice our concern.
The debate on this bill is set to start on the 14th of November so it is urgent that we contact our MPs now and ask them to support the inclusion of these amendments.
Don’t let the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill affect our health.
Did you know that current European Chemicals legislation protects your health and the health of your family and community? By taking a ‘better safe than sorry’ (the precautionary principle) approach, EU chemicals regulation ensures harmful chemicals are removed from consumer products such as cosmetics, toys, clothing, food packaging, and other products we come into contact with on a daily basis in our homes, workplaces, schools and in our wider environment.
Existing EU laws on chemicals and pesticides have already eliminated many of the most toxic chemicals and pesticides from use. We need to defend and retain all EU chemicals regulation especially REACH (Regulation, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) and other existing legislation which protects us in our workplaces. We need to demand no reduction in existing standards and no deregulation.
The EU is the first parliament in the world to try and establish criteria to control the most harmful chemicals which can affect our hormone system, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). For women especially, reducing exposure to toxic chemicals and EDCs is critical, as EDCs are linked to breast and other cancers and adverse health effects.
This is why Brexit and breast cancer are connected. 55,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, but less than half these diagnoses are attributed to lifestyle risk factors. There is overwhelming evidence linking breast cancer to occupational and environmental exposures and practices such as night shift work or, to give them their correct term, environmental and occupational risk factors for breast cancer.
To protect our health and that of our families and communities, email, tweet or call your MP today, and ask them to support all the amendments in the EU Withdrawal Bill concerning environmental and occupational protection.
The specific amendments to mention are:
New clause 28
New clause 60
New clause 62
New clause 61
These clauses will ensure we retain the fundamental principles which underpin EU chemicals legislation and it is vital we keep and transport them into UK law. The precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle can provide a framework for UK business and courts on how environmental and workplace regulation should be developed.
We must remain under REACH and be a part of European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in order to secure full consumer and worker protection from harmful and toxic chemicals. These laws and principles not only benefit health but also give business a competitive advantage which can position the UK as the global leader in protecting its citizens and workers and natural environment.
Staying under REACH and remaining a part of ECHA is vital for UK businesses because of the complex nature of existing EU regulations means it cannot simply be transferred into UK law or replicated.
Please act now. You can find your MP’s contact details here.
You can download a copy of our MP Brexit and Breast Cancer letter here to use as an example for your own letter.
Also take the action suggested by Pesticide Action Network here.
For more information on how business is threatened unless the UK stays udner EU chemical regs see the blog from ChemTrust.