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Box 4.2 – Chemicals for a sustainable future

A recent EEA Scientific Committee concluded:

Regulation of chemicals is entering a new phase as we better understand the diversity and persistence of substances in the environment. Key issues are :

Chemical production is increasing and poses risks to ecosystems and human health.

European legislation has reduced acute pollution, but chronic, less apparent effects persist.

Environmental and societal megatrends are changing exposure patterns.

Chemical risks are traditionally underestimated by science.

A focus on critical parameters is more important than gathering more general data.

Monitoring for a wider variety of chemicals can provide earlier warnings.

Policy approaches need to be further integrated in support of sustainability objectives.

Avoiding upstream use of persistent and hazardous chemicals is key.

A less toxic environment requires visionary and inclusive stakeholder approaches.

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