European Chemicals Agency favouring microplastics industry opinion over scientific evidence of environmental damage

In a letter sent today, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), the International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF International) and Greenpeace, with the support of the Rethink Plastic Alliance, have raised concerns that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has lacked objectivity, by offering a particularly attentive ear to companies adding microplastics to their products.

Microplastics in cosmetics and personal care products, industrial scrubbers and paints, among others, are released into the water and the oceans, causing major pollution.

In January this year, the European commission entrusted the European Chemicals Agency to come up with an appropriate proposal to restrict microplastics intentionally added to products, to finally tackle this source of pollution and prevent further harm to the health of humans and wildlife.

The Agency’s call for evidence, which closed last month, was the first step of a long process, before the European Commission can adopt the restriction (expected in 2020).

During this first step, the Agency invited industries using microplastics to provide information so that it could exclude certain uses from the proposed restrictions. By contrast, the Agency did not show interest in receiving information from other stakeholders about the hazards and risks of microplastics, the letter stated.



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