An American in the European Union: Thoughts on Chemical Policy, Cancer and Climate Change

Michael Lerner
President, Commonweal
Vice-Chair, CHE

This past month I spent a week visiting with CHE Partners in London, Brussels and Geneva. We had an especially valuable meeting in Brussels at the office of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), an anchor CHE Partner in the European Union. At that meeting, 25 scientists and policy advocates working on environmental health issues gathered for a half day of discussions. Below I offer some of my reflections on the current state of chemical policy efforts and related initiatives in the European Union (EU).

Chemical policy

The widely agreed on master narrative in the EU is that a remarkable coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) came together to help pass the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals policy (REACH) by the European Commission. This new set of regulations is seen as a major step forward for precautionary chemical management by many in Europe, the US, and around the world.

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