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Govt must act on new toxic chemicals report

24 February 2013

Govt must act on new toxic chemicals report

A new report which links endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals to increasing rates of cancer and other health problems highlights the need for greater use of the precautionary principle by Government when approving the use of chemicals, the Green Party said today.

The State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization, identifies that over 800 chemicals are known or suspected to be capable of interfering with hormone receptors. The report says this number is the tip of the iceberg with around 145,000 chemicals yet to be assessed for their ability to disrupt our endocrine, or hormone system.

“The Government should take this report seriously and think about how New Zealand can help enable a greater understanding of these chemicals and how to protect people from them,” said Green Party toxics spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.

“The Government could take a more precautionary approach when classifying hazardous chemicals and also look at requiring better labelling.

“However, labelling of chemicals is unhelpful if people don’t know the chemical is potentially harmful, so greater education of the public is necessary as well.

“There is strong evidence that some chemicals in common household items such as air fresheners, anti-bacterial soaps, and cleaning products are endocrine disruptors, yet the public is largely unaware.

“The Government needs to respond to this report positively and better protect New Zealanders from the dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals,” Ms Delahunty said.

Reference:
UNEP news release: http://unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2704&ArticleID=9403&l=en
Full State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals report: http://unep.org/pdf/9789241505031_eng.pdf


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