Some large European retailers such as Carrefour, Tesco and Media Markt-Saturn are not adequately protecting citizens from harmful chemicals in everyday products by failing to provide basic information they are legally obliged to under EU law. Many of these products were found to contain chemicals listed as substances of very high concern (SVHC), which are recognised to be toxic for reproduction.
REACH, which stands for Registration Evaluation Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals, is an EU wide legislation that is meant to ensure the phase out of potentially damaging chemicals. It also sets out transparency requirements to give shoppers the right to know about whether a SVHC listed on a ‘candidate list’ (a list of chemicals to be phased on in the future) are in products they might choose to buy.
However, the EEB reveals today in their report ‘The Fight to Know?’ that half of the 158 information requests sent to European retailers between April-August 2010 received no response….The legal department of Media Markt-Saturn, electronics providers with over 800 shops across Europe, simply declared that they were of the opinion that they did not have to provide such information. Bart Smits (Netherlands) refused to provide information to “third parties”, clearly breaching the “right to know”. C and A Belgium merely replied to one request via email with “?”.
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