Civic groups sign statement to protect consumers versus toxic chemicals

Published by rudy Date posted on February 8, 2009

More than 60 civic organizations have signed the Citizens’ Statement for Consumer Protection against Toxic Chemicals in a bid to change the way toxic chemicals are produced and used.

Merci Ferrer, executive director of Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA), said the statement was signed at a recent national workshop on chemical safety.

The workshop aimed to draft the plan of action toward the 2020 goal of a sound management of toxic chemicals – from production up to use – to minimize their harmful effects on human health and the environment.

“We believe that all of us have roles to play to protect ourselves and our environment from toxic chemicals. Our organization aims to go beyond the boundaries of hospitals,” said Ferrer.

Under the plan, the groups will lobby health officials and hospital administrators and also urge the industry sector to “be more critical and not be too lenient in approving products that are toxic to people’s health and the environment.

“We will continue to adhere to our motto. First, do no harm and make sure that all decisions and actions, especially in the health sector, will not cause more damage to patients, to hospital workers, the community and the environment,” said Ferrer.

The statement was designed to push the government, industry and civil society to work towards 12 points of action.

These include upholding consumer rights, going zero waste, enforcing the incineration ban, stopping toxic waste trade, going organic, protecting workers from toxic exposure, saving children from toxic harm, promoting the people’s agenda for chemical safety, ensuring people’s empowerment and participation, and pushing for producer responsibility.

Ferrer noted that the workshop is part of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a global policy and strategy adopted by government and stakeholders to protect human health and ecosystems from harm caused by exposure to toxic chemical substances.

SAICM aims to get signatures of 1,000 non-government organizations in at least 80 countries. – Sheila Crisostomo, Philippine Star

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