Safety first

Drastic action is needed to weed out potentially dangerous chemicals in everyday use, British environment minister Michael Meacher warned last week. He put the onus on industry to do the job. Announcing a review of British chemicals policy, Meacher said that thousands of compounds in detergents, paints, plastics and other products have not been comprehensively tested for their effects on humans and animals. The review may become the centrepiece of a Europe-wide review launched this year by the European Union. Douglas Parr, campaigns director of Greenpeace UK, says a safety audit of chemicals should be “the first step” towards ending discharges of hazardous substances by 2020, a target date agreed last month by the OSPAR Convention,
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