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 user 2006-05-10 at 10:37:00 am Views: 71
  • #15392

    Sex, lies and hazardous chemicals

    Hazardous chemicals damage your health and the environment. Safer<br />
chemicals can replace them but dirty industry is fighting hard to keep<br />
using hazardous chemicalseight=

    Hazardous chemicals damage your health and the
    environment. Safer chemicals can replace them but dirty industry is
    fighting hard to keep using hazardous chemicals.

    Brussels, Belgium
    — What business does a chemical company have between your bedroom
    sheets? Should chemical companies be meddling with the protection of
    your health? Of course they should have no business in your sex life or
    personal health, but unfortunately the chemical industry is fighting
    hard to protect their privilege to make hazardous chemicals with the
    potential to seriously affect both.

    Across the industrialised world sperm counts have fallen as much as 50
    percent in the last 50 years. (The ‘endangered sperm’, anyone?)
    Infertility rates have more than doubled in industrialised countries
    since the 1960s, while testicular cancer has become increasingly
    common. Reproductive system birth defects are increasing in baby boys.
    The exact cause of these changes is unknown but one of the suspects is
    our exposure to the increasing amount of hazardous chemicals in our
    daily lives. So great is our exposure that unborn children can be
    exposed to over 100 manmade industrial chemicals while still
    in the womb. Many of these substances have the potential to harm the
    development of an infant’s reproductive system.

    Our report, ‘Fragile: Our reproductive health and chemical exposure‘,
    collates the findings of a number of scientific studies. Together, the
    studies show for the first time a comprehensive picture of an increase
    in reproductive health disorders, mirroring the rising presence in our
    lives of man-made chemicals.

    Fix required, but trashing in progress

    At least in Europe there is an attempt underway to address growing
    concerns about chemical pollution and the effects of hazardous
    chemicals on public health and the environment. A new law (REACH) is
    being drafted but has come under unprecedented, concerted attack from
    the chemical industry.

    The chemical industry has led a massive lobby effort in Brussels to
    make sure the new law will do more to protect their short-term profit
    rather than provide long term solutions to chemical contamination of
    our environment, our homes and our bodies. Some of the ‘highlights’ of
    the chemicals industry’s efforts to trash REACH include:

    • Denying and undermining the health and environmental problems caused by hazardous chemicals.
    • Deliberately exaggerating potential costs and scare-mongering
      about job losses to mislead and intimidate European politicians into
      watering down the REACH proposal. Actual costs of the law will be a
      tiny fraction of the chemical industry’s huge profit margins.
    • Actively slowing down and stalling the process of drafting REACH in an attempt to prevent it ever becoming law.

    Our man in Brussels, Jorgo Riss has seen this industry lobby up close
    and knows it’s not pretty: “Lack of accountability and transparency in
    Brussels decision-making comes at the cost of public interest
    legislation. The chemicals industry’s corrosive campaign to destroy
    REACH thus far has depended on the willingness of key officials to
    abandon their role as public servants and behave like industry

    Putting a face to the lobby

    One of the main backers of the lobby effort is German chemical giant BASF.

    While industry has argued that extra protection from hazardous
    chemicals will cost too much , the income of BASF rose 50 percent to a
    huge US$3.7 billion! With those profits, BASF can afford to maintain a
    close relationship with many politicians. In 2005, over 235 politicians
    received money from BASF in Germany alone.

    We have been pressuring European politicians to stand up for the
    interests of the people who actual elected them rather than the
    chemical industry. Now we are exposing the companies who lobby against
    health and the environment.

    Mother and baby protest at chemical company BASF, which has been<br />
lobbying against stronger laws on hazardous chemicalseight=

    Mother and baby protest at chemical company BASF, which has been lobbying against stronger laws on hazardous chemicals.

    To expose the dark side of BASF, we turned up at the company’s annual
    meeting with mothers demanding that BASF stop producing chemicals that
    contaminate their babies.

    Ulrike Kallee was at the BASF meeting: “When I learned I was pregnant,
    I was immediately distressed by the knowledge that my child will be
    born with hazardous chemicals in his or her body. I find it totally
    immoral that companies like BASF can continue to produce such chemicals
    even when safer alternatives exist. help me. to stop this madness and
    protect the health of all of our children.”

    At the Danish BASF headquarters pregnant women protested the production
    by BASF of chemicals that are known to contaminate unborn babies.

    If you live in Europe you can pressure european politicians to resist
    industry lobbying and demand that publicly elected officials stand up
    for your rights.