Toxic Free Environment: Our Activities this Autumn in The Netherlands Europe and at Global Level

One of our three focus points is a Toxic-Free Environment. That is why we organize and participate in various events where we get the chance to advocate our standpoints regarding chemicals legislation in the Netherlands and the EU. 

Dutch action on REACH 

Since 2007, there has been a European chemicals regulation, REACH, in Europe. The abbreviation stands for “Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals”. 

These regulations will be reviewed shortly. The European Commission had set a deadline at the end of 2022 for submitting the proposal to reform these regulations. Unfortunately, this has now been postponed to March 2023. 

We are very concerned about this delay. If the new proposal for REACH reforms is not published soon, there is a risk that progress will not be made. Further delay also means that a new European Commission, which will be formed after the European elections in 2024, may not consider the REACH reform. 

To ensure the safety of all European citizens and to ensure that the Dutch government fulfills its commitments to the European Green Deal, we wrote this letter in October to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to prioritize REACH reform. We did this together with Stichting Tegengif, Pesticide Action Network Nederland, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Stop Ecocide and Foodwatch. 

We also think that: 

  • Priority must be given to protecting European citizens, their health and living environment. 
  • There will be a zero-tolerance policy for non-essential hazardous chemicals. 
  • The capacity of supervisors must be increased 
  • Product manufacturers should be required to communicate more transparently with consumers about potentially hazardous chemicals in the products they use. 
  • It should be made easier for consumers to legally demand this if this obligation is not met. 
  • There should be a polluter pays principle and a zero-tolerance policy for industry negligence 


RIVM Round Table Discussion on Microplastic 

Microplastic is another important part of the REACH reform. That is why, together with our partner Plastic Soup Foundation, we attended the round table discussion for stakeholders, organized by RIVM. Here we have given our input specifically about the approach to microplastics and how we think this should be implemented in REACH. 



The revision of the European chemicals regulations, REACH, was also the theme of the mini-symposium on chemicals that we co-organise every six months, as a representative of civil society, with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, VNO-NCW and the VNCI. Our speaker this time was Tatiana Santos, Policy Manager Chemicals & Nanotechnology at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a European network of knowledge institutes and NGOs. Tatiana Santos insisted that REACH review be given priority. 


International negotiations for the Global Plastic Treaty  

From November 26 to December 2, as part of the Break Free From Plastic Network, we participated in the international negotiations in Uruguay for the global plastic treaty. The goal was to develop a new global agreement to combat plastic pollution, also called the Global Plastics Treaty (GPT), based on the 5/14 resolution of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) entitled “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument”. Plastic is a growing crisis for the environment, human health, human rights, biodiversity, and climate. Carmen Christina Capriles Flores represented WECF at this multi-stakeholder forum to make it clear that actions to tackle the plastic crisis are needed NOW on a global level. 


Alt Text: The photo shows Carmen Cristina Capriles Flores sitting at a table at the international negotiations for the Global Plastics Treaty

Healthy living for everyone 

We also made our voice heard at a local level by participating in stakeholder sessions of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management on 17 November and 12 December about the multi-year goals in the Ministry’s National Environmental Program for a healthy living environment. Our position is that the well-being of citizens is given the highest priority and that economic interests should not endanger people’s health and well-being. Our founder and honorary chairman Marie Kranendonk, among others, was present at these events to defend our views 


Alt Text: The foto shows Mieke, Christy, Marie, and Kira representing WECF at the event.

International Product Safety Week 

Chantal van den Bossche, was invited to the panel debate on the importance of using a gender perspective in regulating product safety as part of product safety week. 

Alt text: The picture shows the panellists of the event on stage, including WECF’s Chantal van den Bossche

We will continue to place chemicals on the agenda in 2023, and we remain committed to achieving a toxic-free future.