Chemicals and Breast Cancer - EU must act
EU MUST ACT TO CUT RISE IN BREAST CANCER CASES
‘TOXIC CHEMICALS AND INCREASE IN BREAST CANCER RATES LINKED’ - MEP
EURO-MP Caroline Lucas has called on the EU to adopt tough rules to protect women from cancers caused by toxic chemicals during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout October.
The EU is currently drawing up proposals (known as REACH – Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) to regulate the use and manufacture of man-made toxic chemicals present in everyday items from carpets to cleaning products, computers to children’s toys.
Dr Lucas, Green MEP for South-East England, said the REACH regulations must be based on the precautionary principle and ensure that consumer health and environmental protection are prioritised over the profits of the chemicals industry.
“Levels of breast cancer are rising across the EU – especially in eastern Europe and the UK, where one woman in nine will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.
“An increasing number of scientists are pointing to the link between toxic chemicals – especially so-called gender-bending hormone-disruptors – and breast cancer, which kills more than 10,000 people each year in the UK alone.
“EU legislation on the use and manufacture of these chemicals must put consumer protection first – and ban those chemicals for which safer alternatives exist. This is the position championed by the Green MEPs and adopted by the European Parliament – and the responsibility now is on EU member states to put the safety of their citizens first when negotiating the final text of the forthcoming legislation.”
The REACH proposals were adopted at a second reading of the Environment Committee earlier this month – and are now being discussed by the European Commission and EU governments to reach a political agreement on their scope before they return to the European Parliament for adoption later this year.
Dr Lucas, who is a co-president of the European Parliament’s cross-party health and consumer protection group, a member of its influential Environment Committee and a Matron of the UK-based Women’s Environmental Network, added: “With scientists and doctors increasingly warning of the link between breast cancer and man-made toxic chemicals, I call on the Government to take Breast Cancer Awareness Month as its cue to back MEPs’ demands to put human health first in the new EU chemical safety rules.”
1. Caroline Lucas is the Green / EFA group’s spokesperson on the REACH proposals, and has called for a tough regime to protect human and wildlife health – as well as the environment – from the toxic excesses of the chemicals industry. She has called for the rules to include a commitment to replace all safety tests carried out on animals, and has drafted a detailed series of amendments to the proposals on replacing animal tests, which can be viewed at http://www.reachnonanimaltests.org.uk
2. For more information on the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer see http://www.nomorebreastcancer.org.uk
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