In a blog published on May 2, 2019, Anna Watson from the non-governmental organization (NGO) CHEM Trust informed about the inquiry into “Toxic chemicals in everyday life” held by the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on April 30, 2019. Michael Warhurst of CHEM Trust gave oral evidence, and the NGO also provided a written response to the inquiry, calling for a “faster, more protective and more comprehensive regulation of chemicals at UK, EU and at international levels.”

An article by Luke Buxton, published by regulatory news provider Chemical Watch on May 2, 2019, focused on the situation around food contact materials (FCMs), which was also part of the inquiry. In particular, EAC “questioned whether the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is taking sufficient action to control hazardous chemicals” in FCMs. FSA deputy director Rick Mumford replied that it is a “very complicated and fast-moving area and one where we need to be constantly vigilant.” He was also asked whether, post-Brexit, the UK could consider implementing the five “basic key principles” for FCMs regulation proposed by CHEM Trust and several other NGOs in April 2019 (FPF reported). Mumford replied that this approach would be challenged by the “sheer complexity” of performing risk assessment for all chemicals in FCMs, because this could be “tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands” of chemicals. Instead, the UK “will look at the approach” taken by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), Mumford said. He also emphasized that “our approach will always be to take a risk-based approach, so we would have to look at evidence to decide whether there was a genuine risk.”

Michael Warhurst commented that the EU system “does not work properly” and pointed to the absence of harmonized EU legislation for most FCMs with the exception of plastics.

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Anna Watson (May 2, 2019). “UK MPs hear evidence from scientists and CHEM Trust about our exposure to chemicals.CHEM Trust

CHEM Trust (March 2019). “UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into ‘Toxic chemicals in everyday life.’ Evidence from CHEM Trust, March 2019.(pdf)

Luke Buxton (May 2, 2019). “UK agency head grilled on hazardous chemicals controls in FCMs.Chemical Watch