The current system for regulation of chemicals is wholly inadequate to meet the challenges posed by the modern chemicals economy. Cancer rates have increased. The amounts of chemicals in our bodies have increased. Absent greater regulatory action, they will continue to increase. This is an international public health problem that remains unsolved. Public health is one of the core responsibilities of a government to its citizens, and it is one that is currently not being adequately addressed with regard to chemicals. The scarcity of detailed information on TTIP, particularly from the United States, makes any assessment of its eventual impact inherently speculative. While TTIP could offer an opportunity to elevate regulations in the U.S. and the EU, experience with other trade agreements, together with the explicit intention of reducing regulatory barriers to trade, make it far more likely that TTIP will hinder important public health and safety goals related to chemicals. To reduce this likelihood, TTIP:
- must ensure that both the EU and U.S. retain the right to determine their own levels of health protection from toxic chemicals, and develop measures to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals as they see fit;
- should not include provisions for mutual recognition for the chemicals sector and other sensitive sectors;
- must not include provisions for investor-state dispute resolution;
- should not impede the rights of states and local governments, or of governments outsidethe United States and E.U., to adopt new initiatives on toxic chemicals and other environmental issues, including their right to choose higher levels of protection for their citizens;
- should not impede regulatory efforts to address emerging issues of concern, such as nanotechnologies, endocrine disrupting chemicals or hydraulic fracturing; and
- must be negotiated in an open, transparent and participatory manner that safeguards the universal and fundamental public interest in the outcomes of the negotiations.