UK shoppers aren't properly protected from harmful chemicals in the products they buy
We expect the everyday products in our homes to be safe. But a decade of cuts mean that public protection teams are struggling to keep us safe from harmful substances in the products we buy.
New research by Unchecked found that only half the councils in the UK are testing everyday goods for the presence of banned chemicals.
The report found that councils are struggling to enforce the rules that protect us from dangerous chemicals in the products we buy – from children’s toys to clothes and jewellery.
While 1 in 4 products tested by Local Authorities contains dangerous chemicals, 49% of councils in Britain haven’t carried done any testing in the last three years. After years of cuts, councils don’t have the tools they need to keep us safe.
CHEM Trust Executive Director Dr Michael Warhurst said: “The findings are depressingly similar to research we conducted in 2018.
“The lack of resources for local standards teams to test goods is about to get a lot worse, as they lose access to the EU’s rapid alert system (RAPEX) at the end of this year.
This will also coincide with HSE (the UK’s Health and Safety Executive) taking over the reins from the European Chemical Agency with a budget of just under £3.5million for 2020-21 – alongside its new responsibilities for making workplaces Covid-19 safe and building safety post-Grenfell. It was recently criticised by MPs for its inaction during the Covid pandemic. The UK is facing an uncertain period of regulatory flux and incapacity, unless it seeks to stay within the protective framework of REACH.”