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Beware: Toxic! Chemicals and the Living Planet

There is not one animal or person on Earth - from a polar bear in the Arctic, a tree-frog in the tropical rainforest, to a newborn child anywhere on this planet - that has not been exposed to a cocktail of man-made chemicals. Almost all of them have been developed over the last several decades: chemicals to control disease, to increase food production, or to simply provide convenience for man’s day-to-day living. But ironically, many of these well-intentioned chemicals are now threatening wildlife and people with the very qualities that make them useful: toxicity and stability.

Today there is unequivocal evidence that a number of man-made chemicals have already caused serious damage to the health of humans and wildlife all over the globe. However, the full extent of the problem is unclear because only a handful of the many thousands of chemicals in everyday industrial and domestic use have been adequately tested.

For the first time since 1981 European chemical legislation is undergoing a major review. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure a safer future for our children and for wildlife by putting in place a robust new European Chemical Regulation. To help this process WWF is running a international DetoX campaign.

(c) WWF-Canon / Nigel Dickinson


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Woman with her children in front of her home in the Rocinha Favela.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Scientific research is only just beginning to uncover the extent of the chemical threat. To suggest there is no link between these developments, and to give chemicals the benefit of the doubt, is reckless. To assume a link and to begin an immediate precautionary phase-out of certain chemicals in the face of unknown risks before it is too late is prudent and necessary because the safety of people and the environment is paramount.

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