The European Commission announced a major and rapid ban on notoriously toxic chemicals in food, cosmetics, and baby products. When implemented, this will be the largest ever regulator removal of authorized chemicals in history. So what are the details and how will this impact American consumers? You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best cookware sans PFAS & nanoparticles, best green beauty makeup without PFAS, and best pasta sauces & tomato sauces sans PFAS, now join us as we bring you what the European Union is doing about toxic chemicals in consumer products.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post contains affiliate links.
European Commission Announces Major Ban on Previously Authorized Toxic Chemicals
The European Commission released a document called the “Restrictions Roadmap” which acts as a guide with the intention to ban several hormone-disrupting chemicals like PFAS “forever chemicals” as part of the Zero-pollution goal in the EU Green Deal.
If the Restrictions Roadmap is implemented as written, the action will be the largest regulatory removal of authorized chemicals anywhere. However, after additional input is gathered from the industry, adjustments may be made in the future that may turn into more of a restriction on chemicals instead of a ban. The Restrictions Roadmap also contains a “Rolling List” including chemicals that they are considering banning based on their ability to impact the hormones of humans and damage the Planet.
“The Rolling List will be regularly reviewed. Further investigations may lead to changes in the anticipated regulatory risk management action. Therefore, it is ‘rolling’ in nature, and substances covered by the Restrictions Roadmap may finally not be restricted in practice and may be taken off the list while other substances may be added.”
What chemicals are planned for restrictions?
- Flame retardants
- All bisphenols, widely used in plastics, including BPA & BPS
- All forms of PVC, the least recyclable plastic that contains large amounts of toxic additives
- all PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ (all 12,000 of them)
- 2,000 additional harmful chemicals typically found in baby diapers, pacifiers, and childcare products.
The process of banning these chemicals on the list will begin in two years. 5000 to 7000 substances are anticipated to make it through the ban and projections from the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) say they will likely be gone from commerce by 2030.
PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Linked to Problematic Health Effects
PFAS “forever chemicals” are problematic to human health and the environment. They are considered persistent, ubiquitous, and very toxic. Because they do not naturally exit the body for many months or many years and are not known to degrade in the environment, they are considered “forever chemicals.” Therefore, it’s imperative to reduce the amount of PFAS you are exposed to by food and water. Here’s a list of health effects PFAS chemicals are linked to presently:
- reduction in immunity
- reduced vaccination response
- increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- increase cholesterol levels
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- cardiovascular disease
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- increase the chances of miscarriage
- lowers male fertility through low sperm count
- smaller penis size
- increase the risk of kidney & testicular cancers
- Causes endocrine disruption
- Disrupts normal thyroid function
If you feel like you’ve been exposed to PFAS, especially during pregnancy, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of Community Health Investigations has created this health advisory fact sheet to use when talking to your doctor. While regulating authorities struggle to catch up, it would be wise to limit your daily exposure to PFAS markers within food like pasta sauce or ketchup.
How Will This Positively & Negatively Impact Americans?
The very idea that the European Union will ban PFAS is exciting, but how does that impact us here in the United States? When chemicals are banned in Europe, that creates pressure for them to also be banned in states that are more environmentally friendly like California, Washington, and New York. Movement in Europe in terms of toxic chemicals rarely stays in just Europe. In fact, many chemicals that are on California’s Prop. 65 list of carcinogens and reproductive toxicants started with movement in Europe.
But this isn’t actually all good news for Americans right now. Whenever countries restrict chemicals, those ingredients have to go somewhere. In the past, the United States has gotten the short end of the stick when other countries, like Europe, increase restrictions. This happened recently with fake organic ingredients getting dumped in the United States a few years back. Europe & Asia tightened organic rules & monitoring and that led the bad actors to find another place to dump their fake organic ingredients.
This type of scenario may start to happen in the United States with consumer companies and chemical companies trying to offload products (or chemicals) no longer marketable to a European audience in other places. So keep your eyes peeled. All the more you need to be on guard until this is also banned in the United States.
Mamavation Commissions PFAS “Forever Chemical” Consumer Studies
Mamavation has been working hard to discover where to find PFAS “forever chemicals” inside food & other products we purchase and bring inside our homes. This is why we have decided to commission our own consumer studies on indications of PFAS in different consumer categories and share that information with you.
- Sports Bras
- Green beauty makeup
- Period underwear
- Pasta & Tomato Sauces
- Parchment paper
- Bamboo flooring
We also have other investigations you may like.