News and Views
Postings from Eliminating Toxic Substances facebook page
Other News and Views:
6TH APRIL 2023 LEAVE A COMMENT
Press Release: For immediate release – 5/4/23
The Hazards Campaign welcomes the regulatory management options analysis (RMOA) report from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) (1), announced on the 4th April, as a step forward from the unacceptable and alarming situation in the UK. However, it is predicated on the pretence that the UK can independently make different decisions than the rest of EU or even globally and it not matter.
Janet Newsham, Chair UK Hazards Campaign said: ‘We have a global PFAS crisis. These ‘forever chemicals’ have seeped into every facet of our environment and human existence. They are inhaled and absorbed into our bodies and spread via our blood and cause serious and irreversible harm to our health. Furthermore, they are not restricted by artificial borders, meaning doing something less than the rest of the EU is futile in the fight to arrest the harm.
If as much money was spent tracking and controlling PFAS use, as is spent on supporting industries who are responsible for their production, then we would have known about the dangers long ago.’
The Hazards Campaign’s position is supported by international chemicals policy experts Sara Brosché and Rory O’Neill, both Bureau members for the UN’s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
Dr Sara Brosché, a science adviser with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), said: “It is welcome to see that the HSE recommendations is focusing on regulating broader groups of PFAS, which underscores the urgent need to ban PFAS as a class globally. However, such an effort should rather be based on the recent EU restriction proposal that would see thousands of perfluorinated chemicals severely restricted. These toxic ‘forever chemicals’ are linked to severe health impacts and are already polluting virtually all humans and environments.”
Queen Mary University of London occupational health prof Rory O’Neill agrees. “The recommendations from HSE are welcome but limited. These are not just ‘forever chemicals’, they are a serious risk to human health, linked to reproductive hazards, cancers and major organ damage. Much more extensive and serious restrictions are warranted.”
Hazards Campaign, Janet Newsham said ‘The UK has decided to disassociate itself from EU REACH with scant consideration to the research, investigations and decisions that are needed on chemical and other toxic substances. This has meant we have been left with a second rate decision making process. One that excludes transparency and worker representation at its centre.
The EU proposal to restrict PFAS covers more than 10,000 substances.(4) For UK workers the HSE RMOA relies on poorly enforced COSHH legislation to protect workers and an HSE that runs scared of regulation.
There are better ways to regulate and control PFAS and other toxic substances. One suggestion would be to remain part of the EU Reach programme, which has greater resources, trade union and worker scrutiny. But the political bile of the Brexit lobby makes that unwelcome and unlikely.
As a result, we are left with little scrutiny or influence on the decisions that the HSE make, and an HSE under-resourced and lacking in the essential expertise to make informed decisions, looking for easy solutions that will leave workers in harms way.
The HSE report plays down the cancer risks, which are taken more seriously in the equivalent EU report. [European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) REACH dossier for the universal PFAS restriction on page 30, first para, version 2, 22 March 2023]. (4)
Although the HSE RMOA claims it bases its recommendations on the precautionary principle (page 9)(1), it fails to take a precautionary approach to “probable” carcinogens, and there are currently no Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL) for any PFAS because the analysis takes the view that there is ‘uncertainty with regard to human health hazard profiles of the various groups as well as the use in the workplace. This seems contradictory to a precautionary approach.’
Whilst we welcome the RMOA, it is clearly too little, toothless and likely to continue to result in workers, our communities and the environment still exposed to PFAS and the health consequences will be dire for many of us.
But it wont end there, we will be exposing our children to continued and increasing exposure to a toxic soup of chemicals: carcinogens, mutagens, endocrine disrupting chemicals and reproductive toxic substances.
The HSE needs to be bold, and ambitious, not weak and ineffective!’
Press release from the HSE, 4 April 2023: Regulator’s report on “forever chemicals” published
UK NGOs statement on PFAS, published in May 2022 and signed by 35 organisations: Case for urgent, group-based, regulation to prevent continued PFAS pollution in the UK environment
ECHA publishes PFAS restriction proposal April, 2023
1. Hazards Magazine on Chemicals
2. Eliminating Toxic Substances at Work GMHC website
For more information:
Janet Newsham – Chair UK Hazards Campaign
Regulator HSE’s report on “forever chemicals” published
4th April 2023
A report published on Tuesday 4 April has set out in detail the extent to which so-called “forever chemicals” are used in Great Britain.
It has analysed how “forever chemicals” or PFAS (Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances) are used. The report has also included exposure from everyday items such as food wrappers, cleaning products, and furniture coatings.
PFAS are pollutants that are slow to degrade. They are often called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally breakdown and can stay in the environment for decades.
In the most comprehensive British analysis of these chemicals ever, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has identified the most common and most harmful uses of PFAS and what measures could be put in place to control and manage them.
The HSE report makes a number of recommendations including to limit the use of PFAS-containing foams used by firefighters to put out fires, as well as the use of PFAS in textiles, furniture, and cleaning products.
It has been published under UK REACH, the framework for managing the risks from chemical substances in Great Britain. HSE, the regulator for UK REACH, has worked with the Environment Agency.
Dr Richard Daniels, director of HSE’s chemicals regulation division, said: “PFAS are a global issue of concern. We have looked at responses around the world, but it was vital we gathered the right information and evidence on how PFAS are used in Britain specifically.
“This has helped us work out where the right action could be taken to limit the use of PFAS and control exposures to people and the environment in this country.
“The reality is that PFAS substances, due to their persistent properties, will continue to be detected for many years – despite measures being taken to limit restrict or ban their use.
“We will now look at the availability and risks posed by alternatives to ensure maximum long-term protections can be gained.”
One of the key proposals is that, due to more comprehensive information being available, fire-fighting foams are prioritised for action. This will be founded on scoping work with stakeholders including industry, firefighters and those with expert knowledge of alternative foams. Similar exercises will take place for other commercial uses of PFAS substances.
Dr Daniels continued: “There is evidence of occupational exposure and environmental harm that can come from current fire-fighting foams, and we can understand the concerns among firefighters. We encourage all affected to work with us in the scoping exercise.”
The analysis published today is a regulatory management options analysis (RMOA), a preliminary step used within the UK REACH framework. It collates, combines and analyses information to understand the nature and extent of exposure to chemical substances, in this case PFAS. The analysis considers existing laws and also how PFAS substances are being managed around the world, including Europe, Asia and the USA.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “By improving our understanding of the potential risks posed by PFAS, we will be better equipped to tackle them.
“The HSE’s analysis is a key part of our efforts to protect us from these persistent chemicals – our Plan for Water recognises this and we will begin developing proposals to restrict PFAS in firefighting foams this year.
”This will build on our action to increase monitoring and support a ban or highly restrict specific PFAS both domestically and internationally, so that we can reduce the amount of PFAS entering our natural environment.”
HSE, as the Agency for UK REACH, will work with the Environment Agency and the Appropriate Authorities (Defra, Scotland and Wales) to consider the recommendations and how action on these recommendations will be set out in the forthcoming UK REACH Work Programme for 2023-24.
Environment Agency executive director John Leyland said: “Today’s analysis is a significant milestone in the UK’s efforts to protect people and the environment from the potential impacts of PFAS.
“Building on actions taken since the 2000s, we are rapidly expanding our monitoring to build a clearer picture of PFAS chemicals and their potential risks.
“By working closely with our partners, we will broaden our understanding to better inform decision-making so that we can safeguard the public and our environment for future generations.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
HSE is the Agency for UK REACH and therefore has responsibility for the majority of the regulatory functions under UK REACH. In the delivery of these functions, HSE is supported by and/or reportable to a number of other government organisations.
HSE news releases are available at: http://press.hse.gov.uk.
As part of the UK REACH Work Programme, it was agreed with the appropriate authorities for UK REACH (i.e. the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish and Welsh Governments) that HSE and the Environment Agency would prepare an RMOA for PFAS.
An RMOA is not a legislative or legally binding document. It typically provides an assessment of the likely health and environmental risks associated with the use of a substance or group of substances, alongside the existing regulatory framework and any specific controls relating to them. If there is evidence of significant risks, it concludes with preliminary recommendations for any additional measures within REACH to manage them. Should action be considered appropriate, a detailed risk assessment and legislative proposal for regulatory action will follow an RMOA.
For the PFAS substances considered in this RMOA, the available data do not indicate a clear association with any adverse health risks. However, the long-term effects of exposure to these persistent chemicals are not well understood, and toxicological data are limited. The underlying chemistry of PFAS (strong C-F bond) contributes to their persistent nature, which in turn leads to greater potential that they could cause serious and/or irreversible damage to the environment.
Below you will find the different presentations shared today during the capacity building session on chemicals jointly organised with the OECD.
The recording of the session that is now available: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hksps4at1u6tkf2/The%20OECD%20and%20environmental%20policy%206%20Dec_Recording.mp4?dl=0
221205_OECD_ Anna Lennquist.pdf
The Commission is consulting on the way it applies the ‘Polluter Pays Principle”
As we know, the chemical industry is quite effective at not paying for its pollution, so this could be worth people responding to!!
"The fitness check will consider how well the PPP is applied. This will mean looking at a wide range of activities and policies that relate to the environment in terms of their primary objectives (such as climate change, water policy, air policy, waste policy or environmental liability requirements), and sectoral policies in other areas that mainstream and integrate environmental considerations, such as activities in and policies for industry and the circular economy, agriculture, fisheries, energy and transport, to name just a few. The assessment will also consider who is responsible for applying the PPP (including how responsibility for doing so is spread between the EU and EU countries). The fitness check findings could lead to subsequent recommendations on how to better apply the PPP."
Dr A. Michael Warhurst
Public site: https://chemtrust.org/
Subscribe to the CHEM Trust newsletter: http://www.chemtrust.org/newsletter
In the healthcare sector, 12.7 million workers across the EU are potentially exposed to Hazardous Medicinal Products (HMPs). These can also pose health risks to nurses, pharmacists, cleaners and other exposed workers. The Europe-wide trade union research institute ETUI has identified 121 HMPs commonly used in the healthcare sector which can cause cancer or reproductive […]
Apple Toxic Is It Above The Law? With workplace safety Whistleblower Ashley M. Gjøvik https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvxNLu7BhaI via @YouTube - Don't let the b******* grind you down...
Apple Toxic Is It Above The Law? With Whistleblower Ashley M. Gjøvik
Ashley M. Gjøvik was a manager at Apple in Silicon Valley and discovered that her office site was located on a super-fund site in Sunnyvale. She began to work to get the EPA, OSHA and other agencies to investigate to see what dangers to workers there was on the site.
The dangers of the site were also not reported to the workers on the site.
As she reports, Apple tried to prevent her from going forward with exposing the problems and began to retaliate against her. She also discovered that the government agencies that she contacted were refusing to defend her rights and also trying to get her to drop her
She found that that many officials of the government had been hired by Apple and that the revolving doors and conflicts of interest between Apple and the government officials including former EPA administrator Lisa Davis were colluding to stop an investigation of the toxic dump
dangers and also do damage control for Apple in preventing the regulatory agencies from doing their jobs. Former OHSA Whistle Blower Protection Program investigator and lawyer Darrell Whitman had also been subject to bullying, harassment and termination for investigating and doing merit determinations of workers who had been retaliated against for making health and safety complaints.
She talks about regulatory capture where government agencies have been captured by the very companies that they are supposed to regulate and do oversight over.
This interview was done on 9/23/22
Justice At Apple
Part II: My personal hellscape of conflicts of interest, obstruction, & arbitrary denials of due process continues…
Apple Wanted Her Fired. It Settled on an Absurd Excuse
Apple Employee Blows Whistle on Illegal Spying and Toxic Working Conditions
Silicon Valley Chemical Contamination & Exposure
I thought I was dying: My apartment was built on toxic waste
WW 4-22-22 The Corporate Capture Of OSHA & The US Government Corruption Cover-up
On Workers Memorial Day 2021 Former OSHA WPP Lawyer & Investigator Darrell Whitman Speaks Out!
OSHA Corruption, Cover-up & US Inspector Generals With OHSA Whistleblower & Lawyer Darrell Whitman
OSHA Corruption, Cover-up & US Inspector Generals With OHSA Whistleblower & Lawyer Darrell Whitman
OSHA, Corruption & The Capture of US Inspector Generals With Whistleblower Darrell Whitman
The Office Of Special Counsel OSC, Corruption, Kerner & OSHA WPP Whistleblower Lawyer Whitman
Production of WorkWeek
#laborradionetwork #LaborRadioPod #1u #unionstrong
Great victory for @DISK_Int @diskinsesi @CUT_Brasil & allies: permission for asbestos-ridden warship Nae Sao Paulo to sail to Turkey for dismantling has been revoked. Solidarity from @etuc_ces @ituc