Commissioner Wallström proves urgency of chemicals policy overhaul

Environment Commissioner Wallström announced on 6 November that 28 chemical substances had been found in her body, illustrating the urgency of the EU’s radical review of its chemicals policy.

Commissioner Margot Wallström and 155 other people (among
them MEPs) have had their blood checked for the presence of
persistent chemicals. The tests were part of an awareness-raising
campaign organised by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Chemicals such as
PCBs (Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls) and PBDEs (Poly Brominated
Diphenyl Ethers) build up in the human body over time, can be
transfered to developing babies in the womb and are known to have
serious health implications (eg malfunctions of the reproductive

The test persons were checked on the presence of
77 man-made chemicals in their body. Mrs Wallström blood tests
indicated that she had 28 chemicals in her body, among them
dangerous ones like PBDEs and PCBs, although these substances have
been banned in the European Union since quite some time. In its
press release on this issue, the Commission stated: "The presence
of persistent and bio-accumulating substances in the blood test of
Mrs Wallström shows that nobody can escape contamination by
chemicals. Despite intense research on some of the chemicals, there
is a general lack of knowledge about the effects on human health
and the environment of more than 99 % of the total volume of
chemicals on the market. It is therefore essential to
systematically examine all chemicals used in significant quantities
in the EU."

On 29 October, the Commission presented its
fiercely debated proposals for a review of the EU's legislation on
chemical substances (see



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