In an article published on December 15, 2017, the non-profit organization International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) informed about an op-ed written by Åke Bergman and other leading Swedish chemical scientists of the Swedish toxicology sciences research center (Swetox). The opinion piece was published in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on November 12, 2016. The scientists claimed that the European Commission (EC) is more interested in protecting the chemical industry than the health of EU citizens and therefore does not “put up a fight against hazardous chemicals.” However, studies have estimated that the health costs due to exposure to toxic substances, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), amount to about €160 billion per year (FPF reported). The scientists expressed concern about the adverse health effects of various chemicals in everyday products. They highlighted that “hazardous chemicals are present in blood, urine, amniotic fluid and breast milk,” meaning that “fetuses, infants, children and adults are constantly exposed to these substances all their lives.”
Further, the scientists explained that people are exposed to hazardous chemicals before legislation has managed to identify them as such. Authorities are thus working reactively, and legislation is moving slowly because of the many factors and uncertainties to consider in chemical risk assessments. These assessments are usually done on a case-by-case basis and do not consider more realistic exposure scenarios including chemical mixtures. Lastly, the scientists noted that the health and environmental effects of hazardous chemicals are of the same severity as climate change.
ChemSec (December 15, 2017). “Scientific understanding of chemicals is sufficient, top scientists want authorities to do more.”
Svenska Dagbladet (November 12, 2016). “’EU vågar inte ta strid mot farliga kemikalier.’” (in Swedish)