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Danish Parliament agrees to invest DKK 285 mill. to combat harmful chemicals

All the parties in the Danish Parliament have agreed on a new set of chemicals initiatives for 2018-2021, with special focus on protecting vulnerable groups such as unborn babies, children and young people against harmful chemicals in products and food. A total of DKK 285 million has been allocated to the initiatives.

Published 17. November 2017

Consumers must be confident that it is safe to buy food and other products. Continued strong protection of vulnerable groups and future generations is vital. The government, the Danish People's Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Red-Green Alliance, Alternativet, the Social-Liberal Party and the Socialist People's Party have all agreed on the new chemicals initiatives, which traverse the environment and food areas.

“Denmark is already a front-runner in the field of chemicals. This new set of chemicals initiatives takes our ambitions even higher. Harmful chemicals need to be eradicated from products and food. This will afford the best possible protection for unborn babies, children and young people. So I’m delighted that the Folketing has agreed to invest almost DKK 285 mill. to combat harmful chemicals. We’ve set up a first-class agreement that will ensure that we continue our ambitious chemicals agenda in the EU too. In this context the government will also work to maintain a high level of ambition,” said Esben Lunde Larsen, Danish Minister for Environment and Food.

The new chemicals initiatives increase financing measures to prevent allergies, while resources have been more than doubled for enhanced and cohesive information about chemicals in products, biocides and food products, including wider use of ecolabels. Furthermore, DKK 34.3 mill. have been earmarked to enhance knowledge-building and research into endocrine disruptors, and import controls on chemicals in food products, biocides and consumer goods have been toughened.

A total of DKK 285 million has been allocated to the initiatives.

The parties to the agreement behind the chemicals initiatives said:

“The Social Democratic Party entered the negotiations with a clear goal to introduce stiffer sanctions for enterprises that breach the regulations. We’ll be particularly tough on enterprises that are repeatedly caught by the authorities. Therefore, I’m extremely pleased that we’ve managed to include initiatives focussing directly on sharper sanctions. We’re also pleased that we’ve secured stronger research into dangerous chemicals,” said environment spokesperson Christian Rabjerg Madsen (Social Democratic Party).  

“It’s very satisfying to see that the agreement allocates additional resources to stronger regulation of allergenic substances. A great many Danes suffer from allergies. Now we’re sending a clear signal that we’ll ensure that the worst allergenic substances are eliminated from products so that we can curb the continued increase in the number of Danes suffering from allergies,” said environment spokesperson Pia Adelsteen (Danish People's Party).

“More and more Danes are buying products directly online. Therefore it’s crucial that we work to ensure that products with harmful chemicals don’t get into Denmark or the EU from third countries, and that we have strong and effective control of the goods that do come to Denmark. I’m also delighted to see priority to research into endocrine disruptors so that we can account for the harmful effects of these chemicals,” said food spokesperson Lise Bech (Danish People's Party).    

“I’m extremely pleased that the ecolabelling scheme is being improved. Ecolabels make it easy for consumers to identify products on supermarket shelves without harmful chemicals. The Red-Green Alliance will continue to ensure that consumers are warned of even the slightest suspicion of harmful chemicals,” said environment spokesperson Maria Reumert Gjerding (Red-Green Alliance).

“The decisive factor for Liberal Alliance has been that we both protect consumers and secure fair terms for Danish enterprises. Our focus has therefore been that the chemicals initiatives should promote EU consumer-protection regulations and they should provide good growth opportunities for Danish enterprises. In my opinion, we’ve established a good foundation to continue this work,” said environment spokesperson Carsten Bach (Liberal Alliance).

“Alternativet’s clear focus has been to make sure that chemical products don’t harm the environment. It’s vital that we make every effort to replace potentially harmful substances with greener alternatives, and that we ensure that industry is better at recycling materials so that we impact the environment as little as possible,” said environment spokesperson Christian Poll (Alternativet).

“I’m extremely pleased that the new initiatives prioritise the Swan and the Flower ecolabels and that there are separate efforts focussing on reducing PVC in consumer products. It’s vital that parents have a green alternative and that they have no concerns about harmful chemicals when they wrap their children up in rainwear. We must also give enterprises stronger incentives to develop a more circular economy,” said environment spokesperson Ida Auken (Social-Liberal Party).

“I’m delighted that our negotiations found resources to strengthen research into endocrine disruptors. Denmark has vast knowledge, but there is still a lot we don’t know. For example, we have yet to find out how, although substances are perhaps in themselves not endocrine disrupting, they can become so in combination with other substances. The challenge is clear. Girls are entering puberty too early, men’s sperm counts are falling, and so on. We need to reverse these trends,” said the leader of the Socialist People's Party, Pia Olsen Dyhr.

“It’s vital that consumers can always find information about harmful chemical substances. Therefore, the Conservative People's Party is pleased that the initiatives strengthen information so that consumers can make informed decisions,” said environment spokesperson Mette Abildgaard (Conservative People's Party).

“The Liberal Party has sharp focus on protecting consumers against harmful chemicals in both products and food. Therefore I’m glad that we’re prioritising consumer information and more research on endocrine disruptors, among other things. This means that we’ll always be ready to go the extra mile,” said environment spokesperson Erling Bonnesen (Liberal Party).

The full agreement is available here.

Further information:

Malene Kristensen, Press Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Food, tel. +45 22 13 08 34, email: malek@mfvm.dk


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