Gender Just Chemicals Policy

Together for a Toxic-free future

Plasticisers in plastic products, per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in outdoor clothing, carpets or food packaging, formaldehyde in cosmetics – every day we are exposed to chemicals that are harmful to health and the environment.

Women, men, diverse genders, and children are affected differently by exposure to toxic chemicals and do not react in the same way to the impacts. This has to do with biological differences, social gender roles and gender specific division of tasks or occupational roles. These differences are often not taken into account in risk assessment and political regulations. However, in order to better protect women and girls in particular, it is imperative to introduce a gender-differentiated view into the topic of harmful chemicals and chemicals policy.

This paper discusses the different effects of chemical exposure on people with female versus male bodies. When using terms e.g., ‘women’, it should be noted that unless otherwise stated this describes those with female bodies because currently there is a lack of data regarding trans and intersex people in the European Union. We recognize this gap in the research and in using the terms women, men, female, male we make no assumption about the gender identity of individuals and place no normative assumptions on bodies.