The negative effects of human activity – including pollution, climate change, natural resource depletion and biodiversity loss – not only cause environmental degradation, but also have negative effects on human health. It is vital to safeguard the EU citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and well-being. Chemicals in products are on the EU policy agenda, particularly as the EU’s Circular Economy strategy seeks to ensure easier reintroduction of secondary raw materials into the economy without spreading problematic substances more widely amongst the public and the environment. ECOS has been calling for more stringent application of the existing chemicals legislation, and continuing to push for long-awaited nanomaterial-specific legislation. Our goal is to eliminate or minimise the use of problematic substances in (consumer) products with a view to protect human health and the environment. We wish to promote the development of ambitious requirements on problematic substances in product standards, and including to support the safe and sustainable use of nanomaterials.
As the European Commission is poised to start developing a new ‘comprehensive strategy for textiles’ in the coming months , today a group of 65 diverse civil society organisations has set out its vision  for the global Textile, Garments, Leather and Footwear (TGLF) sector. They have done so by releasing a non-official (or “shadow”) strategy in which they propose a set of legislative and non-legislative actions that the EU can undertake to contribute to fairer and more sustainable TGLF value chains.
The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture welcomes the New Circular Economy Action Plan and calls on the EU institutions to address the unnecessary and unwanted use of chemicals which prevent circularity and climate goals, such as toxic flame retardants in furniture. They directly endanger people’s health, as they migrate out of products and may lead to an increase in fire toxicity.
In December, the European Commission published its much-anticipated European Green Deal, a framework communication outlining the Commission’s plan to ensure Europe embarks on a more sustainable path, decouples resource use from economic growth, and reaches net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.