EDITORIAL: šŸ’‰FOREVER CHEMICALS

WE ALL HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON AND THAT IS PFAS

Go’ morgen! After a very busy January, we are excited to *finally* move into February with longer days and new energy. You might have already heard that not even vice-presidents of the EU Commission are immune to ā€œforever chemicalsā€? This week, the EEB and Chemsec published the results of a joint initiative that tests the levels of PFAS (aka ā€œforever chemicalsā€) in EU high-level politicians’ blood and was widely noticed. The volunteers included vice-president of the EU Commission, Margrethe Vestager. In case you don’t know, these chemicals are very bad for you and linked to a range of public health issuesā€“such as cancer, infertility, birth defects, and immune system disruptions.

CHEMICAL POLLUTION: EUROPE’S ONGOING BATTLE

TEST RESULTS If you haven’t seen them in media reports across Europe that have been reporting on PFAS this week, you’ll be curious about the results… Yes, all key EU leaders tested have PFAS in their bodies. Up to seven “forever chemicals” were found in all tested individuals, with five EU leaders exceeded existing levels of concern. But this result should not come as a surprise. No one is immune to PFAS. Not even top level politicians.

FROM FOOD PACKAGING TO RAINCOATS With our current chemical control systems, Europeans are still exposed to “alarmingly high” levels of chemical pollution. These results are a wake-up call to policymakers on the urgency of tackling this public health scandal. The solution? Ban PFAS. The next opportunity is just around the corner, as policy-makers will have the chance to ban PFAS from single-use wrapping in the upcoming trilogues on the Packaging and Packaging Waste regulation next week. EU leadersā€“you know what to do!

NOTHING LASTS FOREVER.. Except for toxic, man-made PFAS chemicals. Did you know? We are all exposed to them in everyday products such as food packaging to frying pans and raincoats. We are outraged, and so should you. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO There are some individual measures to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals… BUT this will not be enough. The collective solution we need is stronger regulation of these dangerous chemicals in order to move towards a toxics-free Europe.  

JOIN US Thatā€™s why the EEB, in collaboration with WeMove, is launching a petition to demand EU leaders to urgently prioritise action against harmful chemicals. JOIN us by SIGNING the petition.

TOGETHER we are STRONGER šŸ˜Š 

SOME CLOSURE FOR GREEN FILES

SWIFT DEAL This week, the EU institutions came to an agreement on the much-anticipated recast of the 30-year-old Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD). Civil society organisations welcomed the swift conclusion of this agreement, but noted the deal was less ambitious than the Commissionā€™s proposal on many points.The regulation for plants’ nutrients and micropollutants and new requirements for energy self-sufficiency and storm water management that were kicked down the road. As the dust settles on the negotiated text, the spotlight now shifts to the European Parliament and the Council who will need to formally adopt the deal.

PROVEN SOLUTIONS OR COSTLY DISTRACTIONS? How do you spend your limited time and money? While we are free to make intentional or unintentional *expensive* mistakes, the EU is not. Negotiations for the Net-Zero industry Act are gearing up for their final round on 6 February. They will decide how EU taxpayer money will work to achieve the upcoming 2030 and 2050 climate goals. The focus should be on proven and inexpensive solutions such as circular economy and renewable energyā€“not costly distractions like carbon capture and storage. Read our reality check.

A BIT OF PERSONAL NEWS: We are happy to announce that we have expanded our digital presence to Instagram and TikTok! We are also on Bluesky. Give us a follow and donā€™t miss the latest green news, updates, and work at the EU level and beyond. Tune in and let is know what you think! 

WORK WITH US !

APPLY NOW We have several openings and if YOU are looking for an great new opportunity, apply now! Fancy yourself as the EEBā€™s next HR head honchoBiodiversity influencer or storyteller, or even top dog for Air Quality and Agriculture? New this week, (Deputy) Policy Manager Zero Pollution Industry.

Check out our website for more information about the roles and the application process. 

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