Letter: Repairing holes in the ozone layer

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Sir: Your report (8 March) that an ozone hole is threatening Britain signals a need for politicians to reverse their present assumptions about what industry is allowed to do.

In the coming months a new pollution story on the scale of loss of the ozone layer is likely to "break". This is the threat from "hormone pollution" - a threat to the continued quality of life for future generations (sexual health, fertility and so on) for the human race, as well as for much wildlife. Already the chemical industry is lining up to "rubbish" an important forthcoming book on the threat of pollutants which are "hormone mimics" (Our Stolen Future by Dr Theo Colburn) and is arranging a hue and cry among researchers to look for a single cause and effect to "explain" the problem. This is an impossible quest, as it is clear that many human- made chemicals have an effect in degrading sexual development and fertility.

The lesson is not to be surprised by the threat from pollutants that destroy the ozone layer, or disrupt hormones. The system has been to allow the use of chemicals so long as there were no known proven problems. Neither John Major nor, judging from his recent "environment" speech at the Royal Society, Tony Blair, has any intention of reversing this presumption. It must be reversed: only those chemicals which are proved to be safe should be allowable.

Chris Rose

Campaign Programme and

Communications Director

Greenpeace UK

London N1