A research project by the German Environment Agency (UBA) tested 44 potential substitutes for bisphenol A (BPA) for a number of different applications and products. The result: 43 of these substances are not recommended for use, either because they have a hormone-mimicking effect or a lack of data has not conclusively disproved evidence of such an effect. read more
Significant progress has been made in the chemical industry in terms of emissions and chemical safety. The industry itself is now far more aware of the fact that apart from being a driver of progress, chemicals also pose a threat to human health and the environment. This increased awareness was largely attributable to the adoption of laws requiring that chemicals be investigated and assessed before being placed on the market. Hence the chemical industry is one of the most strictly regulated sectors when it comes environmental protection.
But there’s still work to be done. While cases of acute poisoning have become less frequent, chronic illnesses provoked by chemicals in indoor air, consumer products and food remain a concern. And unfortunately, pesticides – their name notwithstanding – affect not only pests but also non-pests, whereby examples of this phenomenon abound. The decline in farmland biodiversity is largely attributable to the fact that pesticides are a death knoll for the forage of many animal species.
Biocides from facade plaster and boat paint are harmful to water. And while pharmaceutical drugs help keep both humans, farm animals and pets healthy, the residues they leave in our soil and water can be detrimental to the organisms that live there. Also, new risks and threats are becoming a cause of great concern: Minute concentrations of hormones from various chemical substances are reprotoxic for both plants and animals. Persistent non-biodegradable inputs accumulate in ecosystems and living organisms. New investigation methods are needed in order to investigate the properties of nanomaterials. And finally, these kinds of toxic substances have an environmental impact not singly, but rather collectively and often cumulatively as well.
Chemical safety is a major cause for concern nowadays in Europe and around the world. In the interest of strengthening domestic markets and cutting costs, the EU has been gradually replacing national approval and assessment procedures with European ones. But this of course does not absolve the member states from meeting their responsibilities, for they are still required to take on the key assessment, management and monitoring tasks. As the leading chemical producer in Europe and number four worldwide, Germany has a particular stewardship responsibility in this domain. Moreover, the steady growth in international trade calls for worldwide measures; for many problems that once afflicted Europe such as DDT toxicity and dioxin and furan emissions remain unresolved elsewhere. And while some progress has been made, we are far from achieving sustainable chemicals policies.
Higher administrative court review of rulings on pesticides needed urgently. read more
HBM4EU initiative presents assessment values for phthalates, cadmium and bisphenol A – more to follow read more
Landscape planning and pest control are among the many tasks which municipalities are charged with in their mandate to protect citizens and maintain infrastructure. It often requires the use of plant protection agents and biocides. A specialist conference hosted by the UBA showed that alternative methods are already making it possible to do without chemicals that are harmful to the environment. read more
Guidance for planners and operators of refrigeration equipment read more
The use of poisonous bait to control rats and mice can lead to an unintentional poisoning of pets and wild animals. In addition, most of the chemical substances used are very persistent in the environment and accumulate in organisms. A large number of risk mitigation measures must be taken to prevent these occurrences, for example the use of bait stations. read more
German Environment Agency presents seven priority areas for action read more
The Federal Ministry for Environment has presented a plan for the gradual phase-out of the use of the broadband herbicide glyphosate. The Use of Pesticides Ordinance will be amended for this purpose. The German Environment Agency as competent body for the authorisation procedure seeks to make the authorisation of products which harm biodiversity contingent upon certain conditions of their use. read more