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Research from CIEL links tighter chemical regulation to market innovation

CIEL has published a report on the positive and unexpected effects of chemical regulations which are usually seen as a burden by the chemical industry

14.02.2013 |WECF

The study reports that tighter regulation of chemicals is linked to a growth in innovation. This goes contrary to the common articulation from the chemical industry, which predicts that chemical regulation would be an economic burden.

As the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has found out, tighter chemical regulation promotes green chemistry. This does not only count for small, specialized green economy business, but does affect the whole of the modern industry. For example, Exxon Mobil holds the most patents for phthalate-replacements than any other company. Other pharmaceutical companies are following suit with removing and phasing out chemicals such as Parabens and Triclosan.

The recent boom and growth of the green chemistry industry is mostly due to the appearance of REACH. The European Unionís Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) regulation is being in the process of implementation since 2006. However, the industry already foresaw the adoption of REACH and started investing in green chemistry from as early as 1998, when recommendations on chemical regulation started circulating in the European Commission.

The new regulations also created a market for safe chemical solutions which were already developed before, but had not yet been adopted by the industry. However, there still exists the danger that alternatives have intrinsic health hazards, due to their likelihood to the original, dangerous chemical.

WECF still advises to reduce the presence of synthetic chemicals as much as possible. Especially pregnant women and small children are vulnerable groups to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), such as Phthalates. EDCs mimic hormones in the human body and cause various long-standing illnesses, ranging from infertility and genital deformation to Breast- and Prostate-cancer. WECF informs via its Nesting Project about how to avoid EDCs and other hazardous chemicals. 

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