MEPs backed the report by Frédérique Ries (ALDE, Belgium) with 576 votes for, 48 against and 13 abstentions at the parliament's plenary sitting of 23 February 2005.
The report dismisses the environment and health action plan 2004-10 mainly for falling short on the legislative proposals initially promised in the European environment and health strategy (SCALE).
"The absence of scientific certainty and the need to carry out additional research […] cannot be used as an excuse for delaying the introduction of essential and urgent measures to reduce children's and adults' exposure to environmental pollution," the Parliament stated in its final resolution.
The precautionary principle lies at the heart of controversy in this debate. The main question here is to determine how and when sufficient information is available to take further legislative steps.
To step up preventive action, the Parliament is calling for restrictions to be placed on the following substances:
- six products from the phthalate family (DEHP, DINP, DBP, DIDP, DNOP, BBP) in domestic products for indoor use and in medical devices, except where such a restriction would have a negative impact on medical treatment, (see EurActiv, 7 Oct. 2004)
- chlorinated solvents used in the manufacture of paint, coatings and polymers,
- mercury used in dental amalgams and in non-electrical or non-electronic measuring and monitoring devices (see EurActiv, 1 Feb. 2005)
- cadmium (see EurActiv, 21 Dec. 2004)
- four pesticides (see EurActiv, 9 July 2003)
Moreover, the Parliament is calling for research priority to be given to "everyday consumer product categories that contain chemicals which can lead to allergies and cancer in humans".