ICI in attack on chemical curbs
Sunday 08 September 1996
Dr Ian Carney, from the group safety, health and environment department at ICI's headquarters in London, says: "Creeping categorisation of chemicals can lead to controls which ignore the individual characteristics of those chemicals."
Dr Carney, through the Chemicals Industry Association, has been lobbying Brussels to prevent chemicals being lumped together in certain categories, rather than being treated on a case-by-case basis as at present.
The CIA fears the implications for British industry could be enormous. Alongside worries about unjustifiable bans on trade in certain chemicals, with the consequent loss of jobs and profits, it says consumers will also suffer as a consequence.
The origin of its concern is the so-called precautionary principle, adopted at the Rio Summit in 1992, to which Britain was a signatory. This states: "In order to protect the environment ... where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."
The first fruits of the principle have been seen, in the shape of a new grouping of chemicals labelled persistent organic pollutants (or Pops). A dozen chemicals have been placed in this group. Most of them are extremely toxic, but among them is the insecticide DDT.
Elizabeth Surkovic, at the CIA, said many Third World countries still relied on DDT as an effective means of controlling malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes.
The CIA believes the solution is to continue to apply the existing procedure and assess every chemical individually.
Ms Surkovic is worried that the new category of Pops will lead to the eventual banning of whole series of chemicals that, while potentially hazardous, can also bring significant benefits.
The United Nations Environmental Programme, which drafts and implements the rules, retorts that such concerns are exaggerated.
James Willis, director of chemicals at Unep, said there were effective alternatives to DDT that did not have the same level of toxicity.
He also rebuffed claims that the precautionary principle could lead to an overly rigid approach. "We are still working out the framework for applying the precautionary principle."
He said that UN meetings scheduled for February would consider the issue.
Environmental activists and campaigners believe that current proposals are inadequate.
Roger Lilley, of the industry and pollution group at Friends of the Earth, said: "Case-by-case analysis clearly favours the chemical industry and places the onus on the regulator to prove the toxicity of any chemical. We believe the chemical industry should take responsibility and prove the toxicity of chemicals."
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
iJobs Money & Business
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...