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21 November 2005 | Printer friendly

Youth say "REACH for a better future"

On 10 November, European youth delegates met in the Committee of the Regions in the framework of a wide international conference on “Future Europeans” to discuss their findings on chemicals and associated health effects as well as their concerns about the inadequacy of the current chemical safety policy.

Prior to coming to Brussels, the teenagers had investigated chemicals in everyday life with teachers in schools in four different countries. During the workshop, the youth delegates were encouraged to ask questions to a panel of experts and decision-makers from WHO, European Commission, UK Health Protection Agency, NGOs (Greenpeace and the European Respiratory Society) and industry.

Youth Recommendations on Chemicals

Our investigations have highlighted many health problems associated with the use of chemicals in our daily lives, we recommend to Members of the European Parliament and other decision makers the following:
- 1.Favor less harmful goods All chemicals should be considered hazardous until proven otherwise. Therefore, ensure our laws and financial systems allow for new products (natural) that are not or are less-harmful to our health to replace toxic chemicals.
- 2.Ensure proper labeling European children and youths have a right to know about chemicals in their everyday lives. Ensure adequate labeling and information on chemicals that is understandable and comprehensive. Develop innovative labeling systems (such as color schemes or one label for all European producers). Produce a list of forbidden chemicals.
- 3.Testing for health effects When assessing safety of chemicals consider: The long term cumulative effects, not just the short ones. The effect of a mixture of different chemicals.
- 4.Consider whole life of chemicals Ensure hazardous chemicals are considered throughout their life-cycle, (from development to use to disposal and recycling).
- 5.Eliminate harmful products Reduce or eliminate harmful chemicals in household goods, particularly those aimed at children.
- 6.Provide more information Support education and awareness raising, for children and youth representatives, on the safe use of chemicals in their everyday lives, (e.g. schools, homes and workplaces).
- 7.Monitor pollution effects Ensure we increase our knowledge about the health effects of pollution by monitoring health impacts of environmental pollution and by doing more testing for the health effects of chemicals. Also inform children and youths about forbidden chemicals.
- 8.Make more accountable decision-makers Ensure transparency in any system so that there is less conflict between all stakeholders and therefore better decisions are made on chemicals.
- 9.Support Research Financially support research centers to find natural and less hazardous substances for replacing chemicals (especially dyes).
- 10.Implement laws in a timely manner Guarantee that our laws are implemented and those that break the law are punished. Set a time frame for change to achieve these recommendations.

 EEN’s press release
 press release on chemicals
 presentation, armenians students
 presentation UK students
 Youth recommendations
 Letter for MEPs, French students

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