21 September 2017
Denmark’s largest retailer, Coop Denmark, is starting a petition that calls for the government to ban bisphenols and fluorinated substances in food contact materials (FCMs).
The Danish government must take action on suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in FCMs, the retailer says, especially since it has proved "difficult" to get the EU to adopt "adequate" regulation.
Coop Denmark, which has taken a progressive stance towards the substitution of hazardous substances in its products, has invited consumers to co-sign its petition. It says consumers are "worried" about harmful chemistry in groceries, and 72% of Danes believe that the country "must go ahead and ban bisphenol A without waiting for the EU".
The petition is also pushing for the Danish government to propose a similar ban throughout the EU.
Bisphenols and fluorinated substances are part of Coop Denmark’s ‘dirty dozen’ that it plans to phase out from private label products by the end of this year.
In addition, the campaign addresses the ‘cocktail’ effects of chemicals. Coop Denmark’s chemicals coordinator, Malene Teller Blume, says there is no overview of the health impacts of the many chemical substances people come into contact with on a daily basis.
There is a particular need, she says, for legislation to ban groups of substances instead of legislating for a single substance at a time, which "simply goes too slowly".
In July, the Danish National Food Institute added a section to its chemicals portal on its latest research into the cocktail effects of chemicals. This established that even small doses of chemicals in combination can have negative effects.
NGO ChemSec says the retailer’s campaign shows how progressive corporations can extend their aim to reduce toxic chemicals even beyond their own products. "Pushing legislation in the right direction is key if we are to get rid of chemicals like EDCs in everyday consumer products," ChemSec’s senior business advisor Theresa Kjell says.