U.S.-Europe trade document confirms chemical industry attack on health safeguards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the seventh round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership moves toward conclusion today in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Friends of the Earth is calling for a more transparent negotiating process, especially in light of a leaked secret TTIP text on toxic chemicals. The closed door talks opened Monday, September 29, under a veil of secrecy to all except “cleared advisors,” most of whom represent large corporations and trade associations. Negotiating text is not released to the press after each round of talks as was the past practice — for example in talks for a Free Trade Area of the Americas. This secrecy is alarming given that TTIP negotiating objectives would result in weaker public interest and environmental regulation.
The leaked European Commission document on TTIP and chemicals regulation confirms many worst fears: it reflects the deregulatory agenda of the chemicals industry and ignores a looming public health crisis. Scientific evidence shows that ineffectively regulated toxic chemicals are associated with adverse health impacts including cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, Parkinson’s disease and reproductive harm. Synthetic chemicals are causing hormone disruption in people and animals as diverse as alligators, polar bears and some species of fish.
Michelle Chan, the Director of Economic Policy at Friends of the Earth, U.S., issued this statement about the conclusion of this round of TTIP negotiations:
This week we have seen more proof of the deregulatory agenda for Trans Atlantic trade negotiations. A leaked European Commission document, which ignores urgently-needed public health measures to control the release of toxic chemicals, makes clear the chemicals industry’s capture of the TTIP process. Europe has set the high bar for health-protective, forward-thinking chemicals regulations. Weakening these regulations would undermine not only the well-being of Europe’s citizens and environment, but put in jeopardy efforts around the world to strengthen chemicals policy.