Brexit – no excuse for playing politics with our health.

As the country stumbles towards a shambolic and increasingly disastrous Brexit and just when we thought things can’t get any worse, a leaked government impact assessment report reiterates how the UK will be worse off after Brexit under every scenario studied. The assessment, called the EU Exit Analysis – Cross Whitehall Briefing details the fact that almost every sector and UK region will be negatively impacted, with chemicals, clothing, manufacturing, food and drink being hardest hit, after we Brexit.

The Alliance for Cancer Prevention co-organised a seminar with From Pink to Prevention last October, as part of Breast Cancer Prevention month. The seminar held in Portcullis House and sponsored by Helen Hayes MP highlighted our very serious concerns about our health and environment after Brexit, with a particular focus on breast cancer. The outcome of the seminar stressed the need to say no to deregulation, say yes to stay under REACH (EU chemicals regulation) including current and future EU chemical and pesticides regulation, and yes to the polluter must pay principle. We also need to enshrine the precautionary principle in any future chemicals policy after Brexit.  Videos available here.

On the 1st of Feb 2018 a debate is planned in the House of Commons to discuss amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which will enable us to stay under current EU chemicals regulation REACH, which is the very best way to protect our current and future health from the impact of toxic chemicals. There is no equivalent, or replication of REACH which will provide the same level of reassurance. Alternatives to, or duplicating current EU chemicals regulations will be too expensive, too complicated or too time consuming. Even the chemicals industry, which employs  500,000 people in the UK and contributes £15 billion to the economy, is very worried about abandoning REACH.

The best way forward, post Brexit, to protect our health and that of our families from toxic chemicals is to stay in REACH and in the single market.

From Pink to Prevention recently joined with other UK NGOs to write a letter to the Secretary of State for Health letter to the Secretary of State for Health  Michael Gove, expressing our serious concern that leaving the EU’s chemicals regulation REACH will risk the health of UK residents, resulting in damage to our natural environment, and incurring costs and competitive risks to companies operating in the UK. His response was ambigious to say the least and did not instill us with confidence that we would be adequately protected from exposure to toxic chemicals after Brexit.

So this is why we need to make sure on elected representatives support REACH and all it stands for. Please urge your MP via social media to attend the debate in the Westminster Hall at 1.30 pm and support the amendments put forward by Mary Creagh.

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