On Wednesday 14 October, the European Commission adopted and published the long-awaited EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability towards a toxic-free environment.
This EU action delivers a set of action points to ensure “safe and sustainable chemicals, for human health and the environment”.
EFFAT highly welcomes its ambition and commitments, calls however for greater attention to those who stand at the frontline of occupational chemical exposure, namely workers.
The strategy strives to address both the environmental and social dimensions of sustainability. Greater emphasis is still placed on the environment though, and when mentioned, the social dimension encompasses consumers mostly.
While the EU’s Chemicals Strategy aims at a better protection of citizens and the environment, EFFAT recalls that the use of these products is not only dangerous for the environment and consumers, but also for workers.
Agricultural workers need better protection against the use of hazardous chemicals.
EFFAT further reiterates its demands:
- Workers must receive comprehensive information about the use and the associated dangers related to the use of pesticides.
- Protective equipment and training must always be provided to workers for free.
- Each agricultural worker must be able to get official documentation reporting the type of pesticide used during their work activity.
- The use of dangerous pesticides (based on WHO and PAN Europe lists) should be prohibited as they continue to pose a major risk to workers, consumers and the environment. Food products treated with such pesticides should not be imported.
- The use of glyphosate is currently approved in the EU- its licence has been extended until 15 December 2022- in spite of danger evidence. EFFAT continues to call for its immediate ban.
- Pesticide-free alternatives remain the best solution to protect workers, consumers and the environment.