Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Leaked TTIP Documents Expose Chemical Industry's Toxic Agenda

Health + Wellness
Leaked TTIP Documents Expose Chemical Industry's Toxic Agenda

report published Monday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and ClientEarth shows how a leaked proposal from chemical lobbying groups could damage future protective legislation on toxic chemicals.

The leaked proposals would have a particularly damaging effect on legislation concerning the restriction of endocrine disrupting chemicals, which have been known to interfere with people's hormonal systems. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The documents, drafted by the American Chemistry Council and the European Chemical Industry Council, were injected into last December's Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations—an action that exposes the extent of the chemical industry meddling into secretive and ongoing U.S.-EU trade talks. 

“This proposal illustrates two huge and interrelated problems with TTIP,” said Baskut Tuncak, staff attorney for the Center for International Environmental Law. "The privileged position of industry to craft language in the trade agreement without public input, and the unlimited potential of TTIP to affect the ability of countries to regulate on toxic chemicals, energy and climate change, food and agriculture and other critical issues.”

The chilling effect of chemical industry interference with prospective TTIP regulations could include: slowing down the implementation of precautionary decisions on toxic chemicals, undermining democratic decision making and stifling the innovation of safer alternatives.

For years the U.S. government and the chemical industry have complained about protective EU chemical laws, characterizing them as trade obstacles, with some industry groups even calling them the most restrictive trade barriers in the transatlantic deal.

Given these perspectives, it would appear the major aim of the TTIP is to minimize what it calls technical barriers to trade, and its actions could weaken the introduction of vital laws designed to protect people and the environment. 

The newly published CIEL report states:

The joint proposal by the American Chemistry Council and the European Chemical Industry Council seeks to use TTIP as a mechanism to “address the potential non-tariff barriers that can arise from discordant regulatory measures.” While this may appear to be a reasonable aim on its surface, closer study of the proposal strongly suggests different motivations—to exploit regulatory differences between the two parties to slow regulatory developments at all levels, prevent the regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals and obstruct efforts to promote substitution of all harmful substances with safer alternatives.

Industry’s suggestion that its proposed “improvements” purport to involve no changes in the underlying statutory or regulatory requirements in either jurisdiction are, at best, wildly implausible and, at worst, deeply disingenuous.

“The overriding theme of the proposals is secrecy,” said Vito Buonsante, ClientEarth Llwyer. “The industry wants to restrict the transparency of information, which is essential if people are to make choices about what they expose themselves to. They also want to undermine the democratic process by putting decision-making in the hands of industry dominated committees.”

The report also shows that the leaked proposals would have a particularly damaging effect on legislation concerning the restriction of endocrine disrupting chemicals, which have been known to interfere with people's hormonal systems.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in everyday products such as sunscreens, deodorants and children's toys.

According to economic estimates used by the European Commission, the chemicals sector would be the second biggest beneficiary if certain laws were removed through TTIP.

Visit EcoWatch's NEWS page for more related news on this topic. 

David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
Trending
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less
Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab's sample of the whitest paint on record. Purdue University / Jared Pike

Scientists at the University of Purdue have developed the whitest and coolest paint on record.

Read More Show Less

Less than three years after California governor Jerry Brown said the state would launch "our own damn satellite" to track pollution in the face of the Trump administration's climate denial, California, NASA, and a constellation of private companies, nonprofits, and foundations are teaming up to do just that.

Read More Show Less